Hume motorists are urged to keep their cars locked and their keys safe after more than 1000 cars were stolen across the municipality last year.

Data from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) shows that Hume is a hotspot for motor vehicle thefts, with 1026 cars stolen in 2016.

Craigieburn was revealed as the car-theft capital of Hume, with 255 vehicles taken by thieves.

In Campbellfield, 166 cars were stolen, while 101 were taken from Broadmeadows and 55 from Sunbury.

The data has prompted the council and Broadmeadows police to team up with the NMVTRC for Operation Bounce Back.

Mayor Drew Jessop urged residents to be more vigilant, saying there is a common misconception that thieves target older model cars without immobilisers.

“Statistics show us that, in 2015-16, 29 per cent of vehicles stolen in Hume were manufactured after 2010. These vehicles have been fitted with an Australian-standards approved immobiliser and consequently, cannot be stolen without the thief gaining access to the keys,” he said.

“This is a trend that we are seeing right across Australia, and that’s why this year’s Operation Bounce Back focuses on raising awareness of key thefts, and in particular, key theft via house burglaries,” Cr Jessop said. Broadmeadows police crime prevention officer Damien Collins said most vehicles are stolen from residential streets and driveways.

“Thieves are very opportunistic and will target unlocked vehicles for both theft from and theft of motor vehicles,” he said.

“A garage remote left in the car is also a perfect opportunity for thieves to gain entry to your house.

“Under no circumstances should you leave your vehicles unattended with keys in the car and ignition on.”