Bedfordshire Police are urging motorists to take some simple measures to reduce the chance of their cars being broken in to.

Over recent weeks there has been an increase in theft from motor vehicles with opportunist thieves targeting property which has been left inside the car and in full view with items such as satellite navigation systems, mobile phones, wallets and handbags being particularly attractive to offenders.

Sergeant Clare Thomas from the Local Policing Team said: “Over half the incidents of car crime are ‘opportunistic’ with thieves spotting something that could earn them a quick buck. “Vehicles with property on display are more likely to be broken into because thieves will risk setting off an alarm if there is an obvious pay-off”.

Even an empty carrier bag or a coat on the back seat is attractive to a thief as it may contain items of value. “By the time the thief has realised there is nothing of value, your vehicle has already sustained damage which may be expensive, inconvenient and time consuming to repair.

Bedfordshire Police has increased patrols in areas of high vehicle crime across the county, and has implemented many successful initiatives in the areas of prevention, intelligence and enforcement.  However, in order to assist us in reducing the risk of vehicle crime, we ask that you take these simple steps:

Close the windows and sunroof, and lock the doors and boot.

Only take what you need on your journey – whenever possible, leave personal and valuable items at home.

If you must take valuable items with you, keep them out of view and take them with you when you leave the vehicle – even if you think you will only be a minute.

It’s better to store items in the boot at your point of departure, not the point of arrival – you don’t know who may be watching.

Laptops and satellite navigation systems are currently being targeted – keep them out of sight.

Remember to remove your stereo fascia – this is the best way to make your stereo unattractive to thieves.

Even small items like loose change and a packet of cigarettes are incentives to the opportunist thief. Items with your personal details – such as letters, bank statements, vehicle documents, etc – also leave you at risk of identity fraud.

If you have a remote locking system, always double check the car is secure by trying the door handle.If you have information relating to any burglaries, contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, the non emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011