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Police remove valuables from unlocked cars

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Police officers in Richmond in south-west London, England are removing valuable items like handbags and laptops from unlocked vehicles and leaving notes telling owners to collect their items in Twickenham police station in a bid to try and encourage car drivers to lock the doors of their vehicles.

There is a high number of in-car thefts or “smash and grab” attacks in the borough. Last year, 1,300 of these attacks were reported in the area. 220 of those cases involved satellite navigation systems or sat-navs. But the numbers of these thefts occurring have been rising recently. The figure has risen by 40% until July.

25 cars have been targeted so far but there has been only one car where an item has been removed with a note left for the owner to collect it. If there is nothing on display but the car is unlocked the owner will be sent a letter telling them to be more careful. These tactics should only be attempted by police officers if they cannot find the owner nearby.

The project has received the backing of Richmond Council. A council spokesman from Richmond-upon-Thames said: “We have issues with theft in the borough — particularly theft from cars. We see our borough as a green and pleasant place. Car owners therefore can be lulled into a false sense of security in that they leave items displayed prominently in unlocked cars.”

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