POLICE are urging the public to be vigilant after there were over 100 reported thefts from motor vehicles across the district since the start of April.
In Basildon, there were 53 reported offences, compared to 39 thefts from motor vehicles in the same period in 2010, meaning that reports have increased by 35.9 per cent.
In Thurrock, there were 48 reported offences, compared to 34 thefts from motor vehicles in the same period in 2010, accounting for a 41.2 per cent increase.
In one of the most recent incidents in Thorrington Cross, Basildon, between 11.30pm on Wednesday, March 13 and 6.45am the next day, suspects smashed the window to a Ford car and stole a stereo and speakers, worth an estimated £600.
Number plates have also been targeted by thieves over recent weeks. In one incident in Lodge Lane, Grays thieves stole the front number plate of a Ford car on Friday, April 8, between 9am and 12pm. It was worth an estimated £15.
Alan Twine, Thurrock crime reduction officer, said: “Thieves often steal number plates to commit other crimes such as making off without paying for petrol, so it can cause a lot of hassle for the car owner if their plates are stolen.
“Invest in irreversible screws for your number plates if possible to help prevent this and stay vigilant around your area and report anyone behaving suspiciously around vehicles to police immediately.”
Police are advising resident to remove all items of value from vehicles at all time, removing everything from the glove box and ashtray and leaving them open so thieves can see there is nothing of value hidden.
Residents are also advised to park their vehicles in private garages if possible, in well lit areas overlooked by residential properties.
Remove sat nav cradles from the windscreen and wipe away the sucker marks to stop people targeting your car to search for a sat nav.
Crime reduction officer, Michael Armstrong, said: “Thieves will often break into vehicles to find valuables hidden in glove boxes and under seats, so it really is a worthwhile investment of your time to tidy up your vehicle, remove items of value and display to thieves by leaving the glove box open that there is nothing to steal.
We have seen incidents in this area where thieves will smash a window for some loose change, so don’t take the chance and take everything out.”
If you know who is committing crime in your area, call police on 0300 333 4444 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.