A 25 per cent increase in motor vehicle thefts in Bendigo has prompted police to urge people to prevent opportunistic crime.
"Police can only do so much in relation to driving down theft of motor vehicles,” Inspector Shane Brundell said.
“It is not uncommon that people are leaving their keys in the car, or the car is stolen after people have broken into the house and then found the keys in an easy location such as on the kitchen bench or hanging on a hood next to their front or back door.”
Other scenarios in which the inspector said motor vehicle thefts had occurred included when people were refuelling their cars.
“What we’re seen is the owners have left their keys in their car, which is unlocked, when they are going to pay for fuel,” Inspector Brundell said.
“The opportunistic thief has got easy access to a car and off they go.”
The inspector took to social media to detail some of the measures police were taking to address the issue, which was reflected in crime statistics from the past 12 months.
“We are working hard to improve our tasking of police resources to prevent and disrupt these types of offences,” the inspector wrote on the Eyewatch – Bendigo Police Service Area Facebook page.
“We have also developed strategies to target high-risk recidivist offenders for these kinds of high volume crimes.”
But he said the community also had to take responsibility for crime prevention.
“While we can ramp up our patrols, we can’t be there all the time making sure you’ve locked your car or house, or that you’ve put your valuables out of sight in your vehicle,” Inspector Brundell wrote.
He urged people to secure their keys and never to leave them in the car, to park in well-lit and secure areas if possible, and not to leave valuable items, including tools, in their vehicles where possible.
The inspector issued the plea on social media the same day five people were arrested in relation to a vehicle recovered from Golden Square.
Though motor vehicle thefts have increased over the past 12 months, thefts from motor vehicles have dropped by 12 per cent.
Residential burglaries decreased by 3.2 per cent during the same period, while the city’s crime rate increased by only 0.1 per cent for offences recorded.
Bendigo Inspector Shane Brundell issued the plea on the same day five people were arrested in relation to alleged vehicle thefts.