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27 May 2010, 16:36
Police in the New Forest are cracking down on criminals breaking into cars parked at the areas beauty spots.
Last year almost a thousand vehicles were targeted by thieves who took things like bags and sat navs.
The number of break-ins increases during the summer months so the police have now started a big campaign, including using trap cars which have hidden cameras in to take a photo of the thief.
Chief Inspector Gary Cooper from New Forest Police said: "These cars can be fitted with smart water or other products which spray the assailants when they break into the vehicles and so we can identify them later with UV lights."
There will also be more police on patrol in the car parks to deter criminals and also to advise motorists on how to protect their cars.
Inspector James Douglas from New Forest Police says women are often the target of thieves: "Fifty per cent of all the strikes we get are ladies handbags that have been taken from the car either from the passenger seat or just tucked up behind the driver's seat."
He had this advice for them: "Don't leave your handbags on view in the car and don't even put them in the boot because some of our criminals will sit in the woods and watch people arrive, wait for them to take their picnics, their dogs and their families out for a walk and if they've seen them specifically put stuff in the boot they will break into the boot from within the car."
Here is what the police say you can do to avoid becoming a victim of car crime:
- Always lock your car. It may sound obvious but lock your car even if you're only going away from it for a few moments. Also, double check your car is locked if you've got central locking as some devices can interfere with the system.
- Don't leave anything valuable in your car. Stealing items from cars accounts for 2/3 of vehicle crime. Remember, if it's not in there, it can't be stolen.
- Pick a safe place to park. Think about where you can leave your car, because this often determines how safe your car is i.e. park it in a well-lit, busy area (especially at night).
- Add extra security features to your car. Buying some more security for your car could save you a lot of money and distress later.
Don't forget - vehicle crime accounts for 1/5 of all crime. Don't let yourself become a victim.