Stealing from a Motor Vehicle  

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Release Date: Tuesday, 15 April 2008

New research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has shown that Sydney's car parks are becoming popular targets for thieves wanting to break into motor vehicles.

The two top areas in Sydney for stealing from a motor vehicle (the Inner Sydney and Central Western Sydney Statistical Subdivisions) showed increases of 84 per cent and 77 per cent, respectively, in the number of vehicle break-ins in car parks, between 05/06 and 06/07.

The most common items stolen were money (22%), registration plates (21%), documents, such as credit cards (17%), car parts (12%), bags (11%) and clothing (10%). Contrary to recent media reports, in-car navigation systems accounted for only five per cent of recorded thefts from motor vehicles. The average value of items stolen from cars during this period was $603.00.

A small proportion of car parks accounted for a large proportion of all incidents. Of the 931 car parks in the Inner Sydney Subdivision that had at least one incident of stealing from a motor vehicle in 2006/07, just 10 (1%) accounted for nearly a quarter of all incidents occurring in car parks.

In the Central Western Sydney Subdivision, 672 car parks had at least one incident of stealing from a motor vehicle in 2006/07. One car park alone (Westfield Parramatta), accounted for 16 per cent of the 1,620 incidents occurring in these car parks.

Commenting on the findings, the director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that there are several ways of combating the theft of money and goods from motor vehicles. They include:

o Leaving the glove box open and removing valuables from vehicles when leaving them for any length of time
o Developing more secure methods for fixing number-plates to vehicles
o Public education campaigns in high-risk areas (to alert the public to the risk of leaving valuables in cars)
o Installing CCTV in high-risk car parks

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190 (w) 0419-494-408 (mob)