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Motorists urged to be vigilant of car crime over school holiday

Motorists are urged to be vigilant and do their best to beat any thieves who may target car parks over the school holiday.

Visitor numbers to Cumbria are expected to swell from this week as the latest academic break starts and the tourist season gets fully underway.

As a result, officers are issuing crime prevention advice to help people keep their vehicles and property safe.

Previous years have sometimes seen a rise in thefts from cars in the Lake District, with some thieves actively targeting car parks or traditionally busy areas as they know they might strike lucky.

Police say thieves can often be opportunistic.

So simple steps like making sure your car is locked and no valuables are on display can make the difference between staying secure and becoming a car crime victim.

Inspector Rachel Gale said: “Car parks and roadside parking areas can become very busy, very quickly at this time of year.

“Thieves know this too; so we would urge people to do their best to make sure their vehicles are secure.

“We are asking visitors and residents enjoying a day out to be vigilant, because, given the opportunity, thieves will strike.

“If you are parking your car up in the area, please, if you can, do so in a supervised parking area such as a pay and display car park where Lake District National Park or National Trust wardens may visit.

“Alternatively if you’re parking in an unsupervised area, try to park in a well-lit area where your vehicle is fully on view.

“We also ask that they don’t leave valuables in your car and especially not in view.

“Thieves are very often opportunistic. We ask that you do not give them the chance to profit out of your misfortune.

“Please report anything suspicious at the time, using 101 – or 999 in an emergency.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Throughout our Safer Driving campaign in Cumbria, the best advice for motorists is to simply drive safely, within speed limits, wear seatbelts, lock away mobile phones and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“We also urge people to think responsibly about where and how you leave your car; whether on the roadside or in a car park, leave your car locked and free from valuables.

“We have all been tempted to merely put items in the boot, under a seat or cover them with a blanket – but this is what thieves expect.

“Simple steps to outsmart criminals by not leaving any personal belongings in cars may seem obvious but it doesn’t take long for a car thief to strike while your car is unattended, even for a short time, so please make sure you help yourself and keep your valuables safe.”

Tips for keeping safe from vehicle crime:

Don’t forget to lock your car. Plenty of cars get stolen as a result of forgetful owners not locking their car. Even if you’re only leaving the car for a short while – your vehicle or any valuables are at a very real risk of theft.

Leave valuables at home if possible. If you do have them, never leave expensive items out on display within your car – it’s too tempting for a thief. Make sure you hide them out of sight in the glove compartment or boot.

Most modern cars come pre-equipped with an alarm. If you drive an older vehicle, getting an alarm professionally fitted will help secure your car. The threat of a piercing sound and flashing lights is a powerful deterrent.

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