The number of vehicle thefts recorded in Wyndham has risen significantly in two years.
According to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), last year 748 vehicles were stolen in the municipality, compared to 518 in the previous 12 months.
In 2018, there were 183 vehicles stolen in Hoppers Crossing (compared to 89 in 2017), 158 vehicles stolen in Werribee (101 previously) and 102 vehicles stolen in Tarneit (67 previously).
There were also 86 vehicles stolen in Point Cook (64 previously), 63 vehicles stolen in Wyndham Vale (52 previously), 62 vehicles stolen in Truganina (38 previously) and 36 vehicles stolen in Williams Landing (25 previously).
Little River recorded the lowest amount of vehicles stolen in Wyndham last year, at eight vehicles (compared to 12 previously).
Werribee South recorded 16 vehicle thefts (seven previously) and Laverton North 34 vehicle thefts (63 previously).
The NMVTRC estimates that more than 70 per cent of late model vehicle thefts occur when offenders gain access to a vehicle’s key, and that 45 per cent of cars are stolen from residential properties.
The NMVTRC, Crime Stoppers Victoria, Victoria Police and the state government last week joined forces to launch the Consideration is Key campaign in Wyndham.
Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Stella Smith said the campaign asked residents to consider how accessible their car keys, when kept inside residential properties, were to potential thieves.
Wyndham police Inspector Marty Allison said obtaining car keys was often “a motivator for residential burglaries”.
“These sorts of thefts are almost always opportunistic with offenders entering homes either through open or unlocked doors and windows to steal items, including car keys,” he said.
“In many cases, they are doing this while the home owner is not present.
“So, we are asking Wyndham residents to secure their car keys in a safe place that is not easily visible.”