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Victims of car crime share their experiences

Victims of car crime share their experiences to try and help prevent further thefts from motor vehicles.

Three victims have agreed to have the crimes against them highlighted to show to others how, if they had taken simple precautions, the thefts may not have happened. 

A man from Poole parked his car outside his house. Inside the vehicle were a number of valuable items, including an expensive camera. He had attempted to conceal the items by covering them with a blanket but the camera strap was still in view. During the night a thief smashed the side window and stole the camera. The victim believes the only reason that his car was broken into was because the camera strap was on show. Not only has he lost a valuable item, he has had to pay for a replacement car window and clear up all the broken glass inside his car.

Mr Bolam parked his car alongside a wall in a secluded rural location in Sherborne.  He did not lock it because he was not going to be very long, it was daytime and no one appeared to be about. He returned to his car seconds later, however, in that time a thief had stolen his bag from the front passenger foot well, containing his bank cards, passport and driving licence. He could not believe how quick this crime occurred and that he did not see the thief committing the act. He had the inconvenience and expense in cancelling his bank cards and obtaining a new passport and driving licence. Mr Bolam always thought of himself as being security conscious, but from now on he will always lock his car no matter how long he plans to be and will not leave anything of value in it.

A house builder working in Wimborne left his wallet in his unlocked works van parked in the driveway. As he went about his work, someone entered the van unnoticed and stole his wallet that was in the driver’s door pocket. Inside it were bank cards, his card PIN details and cash. He did not realise that the wallet had been stolen until the next day, when over £1600 had been spent on his cards. Even though Dorset Police has arrested and charged a man for the use of his bank cards, his bank will not reimburse him the money. The builder knows he has learnt a tough lesson. If he had taken the simple precaution of locking up his van and keeping his wallet safely with him, he would not have had to go through all of this anguish.

There has been a slight increase in thefts from insecure vehicles in beauty spots and thefts from motor vehicles in rural and agricultural locations, particularly in the west of the county. However, this type of vehicle crime has decreased overall in Dorset by 12.1 per cent from 1 April to 8 September 2013 compared to the same period last year.

Thefts from vehicles are mostly opportunistic and catching offenders can be difficult because of limited forensic evidence and often there is a lack of witnesses, however Dorset Police has increased the resolution rate for these crimes to 6.2 per cent this year to date from 4.1 per cent for the same period last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Powley, of Dorset Police, said: “Dorset Police remains committed to reducing these crimes occurring and detecting offenders and bringing them to justice.

“Members of the public can help in this fight against crime by taking a few simple steps to help keep themselves and their property safe. Remember to always secure your vehicle when unattended and if possible take out valuable items or make sure that they are not left in view to passers-by.

“Despite encouraging figures for the county overall, we will not become complacent and reducing vehicle crime is a priority for Dorset Police.”

Further crime prevention advice and our ‘no valuables in this car’ sign can be found on the Dorset Police website.

Issued: 1 October 2013