POLICE officers have launched a door-to-door operation in Uttoxeter in a bid to raise awareness of an increase in the number of car key burglaries.
Staffordshire Police has launched the campaign following a recent rise in incidents across the area, including in the Heath area of Uttoxeter.
Posters and postcards are being distributed to households to advise owners of high value and highly sought after vehicles in a bid to get them to take extra precautions.
Chief Superintendent Jon Drake said: “Many of the car key burglary offences are preventable with the offenders gaining entry to the house and the car keys via an insecure door or window.
“It is imperative that residents make sure their properties are secure during the day, evening and overnight even when they are home.
“We are working with officers from neighbouring forces to share intelligence, target, disrupt and arrest offenders travelling for the purpose of committing crimes.
“The use of automatic number plate recognition system via new fixed site systems and mobile technology ensures that we can have a real impact on preventing crime.
“We urge householders to be vigilant and report anyone acting suspiciously to us via our non-emergency number 101, or in an emergency 999.
“Thieves are resorting to elaborate ways of getting hold of keys to steal high-value vehicles, including removing keys through letterboxes with ‘hook and cane’ fishing. Offenders are also gaining entry to properties via insecure doors and windows and many are breaking their way in.”
Officers are advising motorists to use a series of simple measures to protect themselves against car key thefts.
These include never leaving car keys near a door or window, keeping keys in a safe place and not leaving spare keys lying around.
Car owners are also advised to invest in a good-quality home security system, install security lights at the front and rear of their property and consider installing CCTV cameras.
Homeowners are advised to lock up their houses even when people are at home, add gates to their driveways and invest in tracking devices for their vehicles.
Uttoxeter’s Birdland housing estate has been the most-targeted area by burglars in recent months.
In November, laptops and hard drives containing pictures of Liberty Turner, who died in a car accident aged just 20, were stolen from her mum’s house in Chaffinch Drive.
In January, town and borough councillor Martin Blencowe said Uttoxeter was being left under-resourced by police bosses.
He spoke of his ‘deep respect’ for officers but slammed their bosses for not implementing more patrols in Uttoxeter.