A SURGE in theft from cars has sparked renewed warnings for people to lock their vehicles.
RAA data gathered between March 2019 and 2020 revealed people were twice as likely to have their car broken into than stolen.
During that period criminals broke into 11,963 cars to steal items – including 84 vehicles in Mount Gambier – compared to 4432 cars being stolen for joy rides or money.
These crime stats also show a significant 22pc increase in theft from vehicles and 27pc increase in vehicle theft compared to the previous 12-month period.
RAA Insurance claims manager Hayley Cain said valuables like cash, wallets and even mobile phones left in cars were attractive to thieves, especially when they were easily seen through the window.
“RAA urges motorists to remove such valuables from their vehicles, including house keys and important documents which may reveal where they live, rather than keeping them stashed out of view,” Ms Cain said.
“That includes getting rid of items from the boot – not many people realise this is usually one of the easiest areas of a vehicle to break into.’’ A spate of those thefts from vehicles in Mount Gambier occurred in February, which triggered a similar warning from Limestone Coast Police operations manager Inspector Campbell Hill.
“There are some key messages that have become evident over this time and we have seen some habits that lend people to be a more vulnerable target than others,” Insp Hill said in March.
“We have had quite a high number of motor vehicle offences and around half of the offences have involved unlocked vehicles.
“So the key message is to lock your car and do not leave valuables in it.”