Police are urging motorists to double-check their vehicles are locked before leaving them, after a recent surge in thefts from vehicles in Watford.
The results of a pro-active neighbourhood police operation suggest that approximately one in 50 cars are left unlocked in the centre of Watford.
A team of two officers, PC Rory Farmer and PC Ash Jones carried out the operation in response to a recent spike in thefts from vehicles in the town centre and from community feedback.
During the two-day operation on February 20 and February 21, officers in PPE tried in excess of 1,500 vehicles to see if they had been left unlocked.
The team identified 36 insecure vehicles on streets in the Watford Central ward, one of which contained power tools worth thousands of pounds, which they were able to successfully prevent from being stolen.
PC Farmer said: “While leaving your car or van unlocked isn’t the leading cause of the rise in thefts of this type, in doing so there is a significant risk that your vehicle will be targeted.
“Therefore, it is vital that motorists make sure their vehicles are left secured and valuables are removed, particularly if you’re leaving them parked in the street overnight.”
During the operation, the team were pleased to see that several members of the public challenged them about their behaviour after seeing them trying the car door handles.
PC Farmer added: “It was great to see neighbours looking out for one another, and we would always encourage you to call 999 if you see someone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of your, or any other, vehicle. A crime could potentially be in progress and by calling 999 you are giving us the best possible chance to attend immediately and detain any suspects.”