Whittlesea residents are being encouraged to be more mindful of where they keep their keys at home in a bid to reduce the number of cars being stolen with their own keys.
Crime Stoppers Victoria last week launched its Consideration is Key Campaign in the municipality, which asks people to consider how accessible their car keys are to potential thieves.
According to Crime Statistics Australia, 45 per cent of car thefts occur from the home, with seven out of 10 late model cars stolen with their own keys.
Whittlesea Inspector Andrew Falconer said the issue of vehicle theft motivated burglaries – in which someone breaks into a house with the intention of taking keys and stealing a car – was a focus for police.
“We’re seeing car thefts in residential areas, either on the street or in the driveway,” he said.
“These thefts are almost always opportunistic with offenders entering homes either through open or unlocked doors and windows to steal items, including car keys. In many cases, they are doing this while the home owner is not present.”
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Inspector Falconer said people could reduce their risk of becoming a victim of vehicle-related theft by installing good quality locks on doors and windows of their house, locking doors even when home, securing their keys and never leaving them in the car, and locking the car at all times.
The campaign is being run in conjunction with police Neighbourhood Watch, the state government and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
Crime Stoppers chief executive Stella Smith said it was important residents acted to prevent vehicle thefts in their area.
“Community information is crucial when investigating these types of crimes, and together we can help make our community a safe place to live for all Victorians.”