POLICE and insurers fear drivers are being lulled into a false sense of security by Suffolk’s low crime rate.
Suffolk Police say in the first three months of 2011, 43 out of 72 thefts from cars in Bury St Edmunds alone were from unlocked cars.
Detective Inspector David Giles said: “Suffolk is a safe county, but if you leave your car or van insecure you are inviting criminals to look around. If a thief finds an unlocked door or an open window, it’s an easy hit, and if something is on display inside it makes entering the vehicle worthwhile. You might think leaving a charger or a sat nav cradle won’t make a difference, but those indicate a mobile phone, an mp3 player or a sat nav could be close by.
The £7,000 worth of items stolen ranged from laptops to a torch and change. But Det Insp Giles warned: “Of the 43 vehicles left insecure, almost a third had items stolen worth £35 or less, which shows even the smallest of items could make your vehicle vulnerable. If those vehicles had been locked and those items had been placed securely in a boot or glove box, or removed from the vehicle altogether, those 43 owners may not have become victims of crime.”
Their losses may not be insured. The Association of British Insurers warned: “The general rule is that if you leave it unlocked and its not within your sight, it’s likely to put your claim in jeopardy. You have to take reasonable care.
“In an area like yours, with one of the lowest crime rates in the country, people have been lulled into a false sense of security.”