POLICE are warning greater Bendigo residents to lock their cars, utes and trucks following a rise in thefts from vehicles in the area in the past few months.
Bendigo Police Leading Senior Constable and crime prevention officer Glenn Maillard said there was a simple solution to prevent the thefts - use a lock that works.
"Basically they are not securing they vehicles or tools properly," he said.
"It is about not leaving your window or door open, or having faulty locks or windows and not fixing them.
"(Automotive thefts) are a perennial thing and a really big issue."
Leading Senior Constable Maillard said many people didn't lock their vehicles because they didn't want thieves to break a door or window.
He said a man had posted on the Bendigo Police Eyewatch Facebook page he would prefer "someone get in and steal (his) stereo than wreak (the) door (the car)".
He said other people leave several coins in the console in the hope thieves will take the money and leave.
"These people don't take into consideration people might pinch the car or they might get in and realise there is nothing there and decide to wreck something," he said.
Leading Senior Constable Maillard said people whose vehicles have an automatic locking system should check to make sure the doors are not open.
"People just assume that it is locked," he said.
"When you hit the button sometimes the light comes on but, if you are a distance away especially, you don't know if it's closed.
"You hear the sound and assume it's closed or see the light and assume it's closed."
Leading Senior Constable Maillard said residents should park their vehicles in a garage but said not everyone has access to off-street parking.
"If you have a van, a trailer or ute and you have a garage - use the garage and still lock the vehicle as well," he said.
"There is no point putting it in the garage and leaving the garage or vehicle open.
"That is another problem we have - we still have many who leave their shed doors open and garage doors open.
"That just makes it too easy."
Leading Senior Constable Maillard said locking a vehicle was a "momentary job" and people needed to get into the habit of doing it.
He said a good way to remember to lock a vehicle was to check it when locking the front door for the evening.
"People don't think it is going to happen to them," he said.
"Then it does."
TIPS TO PREVENT MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
1. Lock all doors and close all windows.
2. Tradies, please make sure you lock up your tools securely. Consider marking or engraving your tools. This can either be done with a business ABN number or licence number. If property is stolen and later located, police will then be able to return the property to the rightful owner.
3. Tool boxes should have alarms and have hardened steel padlocks.
4. Avoid leaving your trailers and utilities and vans on nature strips or in your front yard.
5. Try not to leave valuables in vehicles, but if you can’t avoid it, place them securely out of sight.
6. And if you have a garage, use it – and lock the car and the garage.
(Source: Bendigo Police Eyewatch Facebook Page)