Senior Constable Carrie Hamilton finds a car left unlocked in Oamaru during an information drive to encourage car-owners to secure vehicles. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Absent-minded motorists in Oamaru are being told they are
making it too easy for thieves, after a police information
campaign intended to encourage car-owners to lock vehicles
found seven cars unlocked in the space of just 10 minutes.
Following a spate of thefts of vehicles and unsecured
belongings police have conducted a leaflet campaign and
issued a ''lock it or lose it'' warning to motorists in the
Senior Constables Carrie Hamilton and Graeme McPherson
yesterday carried out checks on parked cars in central
Oamaru, and were staggered by the number of vehicles left
In just 10 minutes they discovered seven cars left unlocked,
including one with the keys in the ignition and one with a
purse on the passenger seat.
Snr Const Hamilton said she was ''surprised'' that so many
people had left cars unlocked.
Snr Const McPherson said it was ''just too easy'' for
Unattended vehicles should be kept locked at all times, and
valuables hidden from plain sight, even if the driver had
just gone into a shop for five minutes, he said.
He said he was also concerned that although some cars had
been locked, purses and handbags, which presented a tempting
target for thieves, had still been clearly visible.
Detective Sergeant Dan Keno said for the past three to four
weeks, the area around Fleet, Exe and Ouse Sts had become a
''hot spot'' for thefts of vehicles and belongings.
''There have been about 30 cars broken into and probably in
excess of 40 dishonesty offences.''
Det Sgt Keno said the problem had been made worse by many
people leaving vehicles and car garages unlocked.
He said all the incidents would now be reviewed to see if
there was a ''common denominator'', but in the meantime, it
was necessary to educate the public on the importance of
securing vehicles and ensuring valuables were not left on