Canberrans urged to secure their vehicles and homes

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ACT Policing is urging Canberrans to secure their vehicles and homes following continuing easy vehicle thefts.

Officer in Charge of Woden Station, Detective Inspector Shane Scott has reminded residents to make sure their cars and homes are locked.

“In October, we saw at least 27 vehicles where the owner’s key was used to steal the vehicle. We know people are continuing to leave keys in unlocked vehicles. And we know people are leaving homes unlocked – allowing criminals to easily enter, steal the key and then steal the vehicle," said Detective Inspector Scott. 

“In 2021 it should be very difficult to take a modern vehicle. Very few cars can still be ‘hot-wired’. But we know the majority of the 1450 vehicles reported stolen in the past year were stolen with the vehicle’s key.

“We also know opportunistic thieves are checking for unlocked vehicles in garages, parking lots and in driveways. In many cases they are finding wallets, handbags, cash and phones in these unlocked vehicles.

“Please make it hard for thieves. Lock your home. Lock your car – every time. And do not leave valuables in your vehicle."

ACT Policing is also warning the community about the issue of number plate theft. Criminals regularly steal number plates and place them on a stolen vehicle to avoid police detection. 

Canberrans can secure their plates with tamper-proof screws – available free at all police stations.

ACT Policing and the ACT Government have some tips and advice to Outsmart the Offender.

Lock and hide

  • Even when your car is locked, it’s not impossible to get in. Offenders are less likely to break in if they can’t see anything worth stealing. Take the time to lock your doors, close the windows and don’t leave valuables in the vehicle.
  • Lock your car even if you’re only gone for a few seconds.
  • Close all windows.
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car like your wallet, phone or laptop even if it is locked, even loose change can tempt a thief.
  • Don’t keep registration papers or anything valuable in the glove box.
  • Never leave spare keys and garage remotes in your car (even if they are hidden).
  • If possible, park in a garage, your backyard or carport rather than in your driveway or on the street.
  • Be aware of where you are parking if you’re out at night, park in a secure carpark or an area that is well lit.

Protect your ride

Statistics show cars are more likely to be stolen from a car park than any other location. Your driveway and house are also target locations.

Outsmart the offender by always taking your car keys with you, and when at home leave them in a safe place. If you leave home without your car, don’t leave your car keys in plain sight in your house.

We also know thieves continue to target older vehicles that don’t have an engine immobiliser because they are easier to steal.

For newer cars, thieves are now breaking into houses (or entering through unlocked doors and windows) to find the car keys and then stealing the car. Don’t leave keys near front doors or in other open/obvious places.  


Anyone with information about vehicle thefts that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.  Information can be provided anonymously.


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