Thames Valley Police is warning motorists to secure their vehicles after a recent rise in thefts in Milton Keynes.

The darker evenings tend to bring with them an increase in opportunities for thieves, and since the clocks went back last month there have been more offences of theft from motor vehicles across the Local Policing Area (LPA).

Det Insp Matt Darnell, based at Milton Keynes Local CID, has urged motorists to be mindful that thieves will be on the lookout for vehicles which have not been left properly secured.

He said: “With the darker nights drawing in, we normally expect to see the number of thefts from motor vehicles increase, and this is exactly what has happened.

“It is therefore even more important than normal for motorists to lock their vehicles and double-check that they have done so. There are also some other simple steps you can take to make yourself less likely to be a victim.”

These include:

Lock doors and close windows.  A vehicle left unlocked or with windows open is an invitation to a thief and some criminals will simply keep checking vehicles until they find one unlocked, so don’t leave your vehicle unsecured, physically check that your doors and windows are locked.

Remove all items from the vehicle.   Most criminals are opportunists – they take what they can, when they see it. If a vehicle looks empty, the chances are they may leave it alone.
Don’t make life easy for criminals by leaving any items on display. Either take your property with you when you get out of the vehicle or keep items locked in the boot out of sight. Even things like an old coat, sunglasses or loose change can be a temptation for someone to ‘smash and grab’ – they steal first and think about value later.   If you have a portable sat nav remove it when not in use and also remove the cradle and wipe off any sucker marks as they are an indicator that the sat nav itself may still be in the car. A criminal will happily smash a window to check!    Register your sat nav and any other electrical items on Immobilise, the UK National Property Register (opens new window), free of charge.

Leave your empty glove box and centre console open so that it can be seen that there is nothing to steal.

If you have a garage – use it! Always lock the garage and the vehicle. If you don’t have a garage always try to park in a well lit open place in public view.

If possible use secure car parks displaying the Park Mark sign. For more details visit the Park Mark website (opens new window).

For further advice and information on securing your vehicle visit the Thames Valley Police website.