Police have increased night time patrols in Peterborough after a spate of thefts from cars led residents to begin their own overnight patrols.
Villagers in Eye took to walking the streets in the early hours of the morning to prevent thieves getting away with valuables from cars.
There has also been a rise in car crime across the city, with residents in Cardea and the Ortons reporting problems.
Now officers have increased their presence to keep property safe and are urging motorists to ensure their cars are locked when parked up.
But now, Eye resident Dale McKean, a former Peterborough City Councillor said police needed to do more.
He said: “The problems really started at the beginning of December, when residents started posting about problems on a village Facebook site.
“People had sat navs stolen, and one had a bank card stolen.
“There was so much concern people started going round the village in the night to try and stop it happening again, but police did not respond.
“There were times when people called 101 to report it, but were told a crime had not been committed - and we were also told to report online rather than on 101.
“People just want the police to be more responsive, and to have that one-to-one conversation with someone about what happened.
“A lot of people got CCTV at their homes over December, and there is a lot of intelligence police could use that is out there on the internet now as a result, but they have not spoken to anyone about it.”
Cllr Julie Howell, who represents the Orton Waterville ward, said there had been a number of reports of thefts from cars in the area.
She said: “When a car has been tampered with word gets round very quickly and residents understandably become anxious.
“I’m not sure there is much more the police can do. I know they patrol regularly, and are both proactive and reactive. Perhaps we need the courts to impose tougher sentences to deter this type of crime.”
Cllr Howell also said residents need to take more care to lock their car. She said: “I recently attended a community action day event with officers at Ortongate. As part of this, officers checked cars for items of value on display and it was shocking to discover how many cars had been left unlocked.
“I’m very aware that today’s criminals sometimes have access to sophisticated equipment that can open a car without its key (as has indeed happened to our car), but it is clear that residents aren’t always remembering to lock their cars every time they leave them unattended.”
Residents are urged to remove valuables and even wipe away suction marks on windscreens that could indicate sat nav systems are inside.
Detective Sergeant Mark Plitsch said: “While we are working hard to identify who is responsible for these thefts, we would urge members of the public to double check their vehicles are locked before leaving it, and ensure any valuables are removed, even if they are out of sight an opportunist thief will take what they can find if they come across an unlocked door.”
Anyone with information about this series of thefts, or who sees any suspicious activity, is asked to contact police by calling 101 or reporting online at www.cambs.police.uk/report.