Thieves are stealing from at least one car a day in Doncaster because the owner did not bother to lock it.
Figures obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act reveal 365 reports of cars either taken or having items stolen from them after being left either unlocked or with the window open. And police believe this may be the tip of the iceberg as many motorists may refuse to admit they had not locked the doors.
This year’s official figure for 2013-14 is made up of 22 vehicles which were taken, and 342 which had items stolen from them. There was also one case of aggravated vehicle taking.
It is higher than the figures for each of the previous years,
In 2011-12, 22 unlocked cars were stolen and 278 stolen from.
For 2012-13, 23 unlocked cars were taken, two were subject to aggravated vehicle taking, and 278 had items stolen from them.
Supt Eddie Murphy, Doncaster police commander, said people should not be blamed for becoming victims of crime, but urged them to leave their vehicles secure.
He was not surprised by the figures and urged the public to make sure they locked their doors properly.
He said: “Unfortunately we have become too reliant on the fact that we all have electronic fobs on our vehicles.
“We press our fobs and don’t look back to see if it’s been locked. The reality of that is that has caused a lot of problems. We have developed a reliance on pressing a button and the light flashing.
“In the past, people would have physically checked the door before they walked away. People have to realise they need to check that their cars are locked.
“Most people don’t like admitting that they have left their car unlocked, so I feel the figure could be even higher.”
He added there had been a case of recently as this week where it was thought the car had become unlocked after the owner had given his young child his car keys to play with it. It is believed the child accidentally unlocked it be pressing the button.
Police have taken to sending out patrols to see if cars are unlocked in Doncaster. They estimate they find one in 50 unlocked.
Officers also warn commonly targeted items include things like wallets, sat-navs, MP3 players and a cash, which are sometimes left on display.
Of the reported thefts from unlocked cars, the highest number was recorded in the Intake and Wheatley Safer Neighbourhood |Team area here there were 51 incidents last year.
The figures for the other SNTs were: Bawtry and Tickhill, 36; Bessacarr, 35; Armthorpe, 26; Bentley, 24; Balby, 20; Doncaster town centre, 19; Edlington, 19; Hyde Park, 16; Mexborough, 14; Thorne and Moorends, 13; Hatfield and Stainforth, 13; Greater Adwick, 13; Conisbrough, 11; Hexthorpe, nine; Belle Vue, nine; Greater Askern, seven; Rossington, three.
The highest number of incidents of theft or unauthorised taking of an unlocked vehicle was for an area was five, in Hatfield and Stainforth.
Case were also reported in Armthorpe (four), Bawtry and Tickhill (three), Conisbrough (two), Thorne and Moorends (two), Bentley (two), and once in each of Hyde Park, Mexborough, Rossington, Greater Askern. The aggravated vehicle taking incident reported was in Thorne and Moorends.