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Bendigo police say opportunistic thieves are taking advantage of residents’ carelessness and making off with cars after owners have left the keys in the ignition.
Thefts jumped by 22 per cent in the City of Greater Bendigo in 2015 and Acting Inspector Troy Hargadon said it was a timely reminder for residents to be proactive in crime prevention.
“We certainly rely a lot on information from the public to help us detect and investigate these incidents and a big step in prevention is that of homeowners and car owners taking some preventative measures to secure their belongings at the time to avoid being victims,” he said.
“To highlight this, we had a number of motor cars stolen in the last week or so, four of which had the keys in the ignition and were unlocked, so when we’ve got contributing factors such as this, it’s very difficult for us to police and we’d certainly like to see some support from the community to secure their belongings so we don’t have to investigate some of these incidents.”
Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said thefts from motor vehicles had risen steadily over the past five years to the point where they accounted for one in every 10 thefts across Victoria.
“Theft has gone up across the board, it’s a statewide trend and it’s been a statewide significant trend, which means it’s something we’ve been seeing consistently for a number of quarters,” she said.
Despite the rising crime rate, Acting Inspector Hargadon was quick to reassure Bendigo residents police were doing everything in their power to tackle crime throughout the city, and encouraged community members to continue to support their efforts.
“Any rise in crime is obviously not necessarily expected, but rest assured that we are proactively working within our organisation and with stakeholders and community engagement to address and rectify and investigate, and we’d encourage any person in the community who has information about any offence or any matter relevant to policing that they provide that to us,” he said.
“If you know something, say something.”