Police issue theft warning for car owners in Horsham District

VEHICLE users in the Horsham District are being warned not to leave valuables on display in their vehicles in a bid to deter thieves.

There have been reports in the Horsham District of thefts from motor vehicles and the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership is advising vehicle users to take action to avoid the potential loss of property.

So far in 2011/12, the Horsham District as a whole has seen 310 thefts from motor vehicles.

This is a 3.7 per cent increase and whilst it means just 11 more victims, all such crime is of concern.

Most vehicle crime is opportunist and can be prevented by taking a number of security precautions.

Tips from Sussex Police include:

- Always leave handbags and wallets at home if possible. Even if handbags do not contain anything valuable, a thief will not know that and might still break a window or force a lock to get at it.

- Make sure the doors of the vehicle are locked and the windows and sunroof are closed even if the vehicle will only be left for a couple of minutes

- Make sure the car is parked in a location where it is in clear view of other people, not obscured from sight by trees or shrubs, therefore making it more vulnerable

- The most commonly stolen items from cars include satellite navigation systems, handbags and mobile phones. They are easy to remove quickly, are easily concealed and do not look out of place if a thief is seen walking away from a car

- Make sure coats and jackets are not left behind in the car. A thief may think that it is hiding a laptop or handbag and break into the car to find out

- Should anything untoward happen, descriptions and car registrations should be noted and given to the police at the time of suspicious incidents

Ian Cooke, acting inspector for the Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team at Sussex Police, said: “The solution to avoid becoming the next victim is easy. Simply don’t leave any valuables in your car.

“Thinking you can hide them under your seat or in the boot or foot well is not an option either, as thieves know where to look.

“By taking a few simple precautions, you can ensure that you don’t become the next theft victim.”