Top PSNI officer warns that thieves are looking for ‘easy pickings’

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With the momentum starting to grow towards Christmas, many people will be out and about shopping for presents, but when that hard work has been done, police are advising some simple steps to ensure that criminals do not get easy pickings.

This is especially important if the shopping expedition involves transporting and storing presents in cars.

Foyle Area Commander Chief Inspector Jon Burrows, gave the following advice on protecting your vehicle and your property left in your vehicle.

“Thefts from vehicles are not common place but do happen from time to time and in the run up to the festive season.

“Plan your shopping, don’t load the boot and back seat of your car until you are ready to drive to home. If you really need to leave gifts in a car while you continue shopping, make sure they are locked in the boot or there is someone in the car to watch over them.

“It is up to everyone to play a part in preventing thefts from vehicles - it is a preventable if everyone takes responsibility for safeguarding their own property and that of their neighbours.

This simple checklist will help you to keep your vehicle secure.

- If possible always lock your vehicle in a garage.

- NEVER leave valuables in plain sight. Always take them with you or lock away in the boot.

• If you cannot park in a garage, park in a well lit area.

• If your vehicle has an alarm and engine immobiliser, always make sure they work.

• If your vehicle is an older model, consider fitting an alarm and use some form of visual deterrent like a steering wheel lock that conforms to Sold Secure standards.

• Make sure that you have adequate insurance cover.

• You should also consider setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for your area, so that neighbours can look out for suspicious activity around cars and report it to the police immediately.