Vehicle and contents thefts have spiked in Victoria, leading to calls for car owners to better secure their vehicles and the personal belongings they keep inside them.

    More than 21,400 vehicle thefts, or attempted thefts, were recorded in the 12 months to March 2024 according to Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency.

    That represents an increase of almost 4000, or 22 per cent, on the previous 12-month period.

    Thefts of items from inside vehicles were also up by 18.6 per cent to 59,000.

    In response to the latest data, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) has distributed a bulletin to drivers encouraging a renewed focus on vehicle security to counter such crimes, putting forward five recommendations.

    The RACV is advising motorists to install anti-theft number plate screws to combat number plate theft.

    It also suggests drivers keep valuable personal items in their vehicle out of plain sight.

    Other recommended security measures include parking in a secure space such as a garage or gated driveway, and ensuring your car is locked upon exiting the vehicle.

    Cars parked on the street were the number one target for thieves, with 6365 vehicle thefts and 22,471 property thefts recorded over a 12-month period.

    Finally, the RACV is encouraging car owners to review their car insurance policy to maintain an adequate level of cover.

    “If the opportunity presents, thieves will break into a car and take possessions that are easily visible from outside the vehicle, often using the opportunity to steal the car itself. That why it’s crucial to protect your vehicle, even when it’s parked at home,” said RACV general manager of motoring products Jeff Ames

    “Unfortunately, just because your car is parked at home in a driveway doesn’t mean it’s completely safe so don’t forgot to lock the doors, wind up windows, and ensure nothing valuable is in plain sight.

    “Number plates rank as one of the top items stolen from cars. These plates are then fitted onto stolen vehicles and used to commit crimes including ram raids, fuel theft, and burglaries.”

    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.

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