City beat: Prevention is better than cure - take steps to make your car safer

Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Well, we’ve all done it I suppose. During a rare day off in the week there I was sitting in a coffee shop sipping a latte when I realised what I had done. Gulping down my coffee I hot-footed it from the coffee shop (having settled my bill first I hasten to add) and rushed back to my car.

There on the passenger seat was my mobile phone in full view of anyone who may want to deprive me of it.

I should know better, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, dropping the children at school or struggling with the shopping, we may leave a bag, a sat nav or even money, in full view in our car. It’s so easily done. And nine times out of ten it would be absolutely fine, we’d be lucky, come back to our cars and it would still be sitting there.

Prevention, as they say however, is better than cure so why would we take the chance? Statistically whilst it’s very unlikely your car would be broken into, in a city the size of Peterborough it does happen.

That’s why we can all take one more step to make our vehicles safer. I have recently spoken with offenders who have been charged with breaking into cars and one told me that he only looked for cars that have been left unlocked.

Another just looked for something quick and easy on the passenger seat that they could grab after breaking a window. My mobile phone would have been perfect as it lay in full view.

Personally I usually leave the glove box open and nothing in the car. By leaving the glove box open anyone who may peer through the windows can see there is nothing inside so why break in?

I also try to park in full public view where possible looking for the CCTV cameras and avoid dark unlit areas obscured from the view of passers by. As I say, the chance of it happening is statistically low, but I would rather not take the chance by giving a thief an easy prize.

But a thief is running a risk too. Just this week we have arrested and charged someone who had broken into a number of cars over a few weeks. Their luck ran out. Sometimes they may not notice the CCTV camera pointing at them, or maybe someone will see them acting suspiciously near a car and call the police.

Sometimes we catch them in the act, as happened this week.

As we all know, the police can’t do their job without the help of the public, so if you do see something you think is suspicious, please report it. By working together we can make it harder for the thief and best of all make sure you have your personal possessions with you when you leave your car unattended.

Oh yes, and don’t try and run whilst carrying a latte. It doesn’t end well.

This week’s columnist is Detective Inspector Rob Hall, Priority Crime Team and Impact Team