Autumn 2010 saw the launch of our LOCK IT OR LOSE IT! campaign across Richmondshire and Hambleton. The campaign is aimed at encouraging owners of quad bikes, builders' vans, and Land Rovers and other 4x4s, to secure their vehicles every time they leave them unattended - even for short periods.
There was recently a spate of thefts in the Bellerby and lower Swaledale areas where during daytime criminals were looking for such tradesman's vans outside houses where work was being done, or looking for quads or 4x4's parked up on the roadside whilst farmers were tending to livestock. Because the owners are back and forwards to the vehicles they tend to think they are safe-but they are easy targets. Modern vehicles are difficult to steal or sell on without keys-so criminals will drive around looking for such opportunities, day and night, and they will walk into farmyards, walk up to builders vans, 4x4's, and so on-and if they find the keys they will be gone.
A recent article in the D&S Times told the story of a local family who had left the keys in the car which was parked in the farm yard. The car was stolen, and because its was insecure the insurance will not pay out. The family appealed for compassion to the insurance company because the car was also the mobility for a disabled family member-but the insurers haven't yet agreed to pay. Please don't get caught out as well. Your vehicle is your mobility, your livelihood, and it can contain all of your tools for work, and if the insurance won't pay out-can you afford a replacement?
Under the "Lock It or Lose It!" campaign officers will be checking such vehicles on their patrols and cold-calling at farms and so on to give crime prevention advice, to deter criminals through the resulting high viz patrols, and reduce opportunities for criminals looking for easy pickings in the Dales.
The arrival of the poster and leaflets from the Community Safety Partnership "formalises" the campaign for us across Richmondshire and Hambleton, but in Leyburn we had already made a start with over 70 vehicles parked unattended at the roadside being checked by police to make sure keys hadn't been left in them. More than half were found to be unlocked, and a third were found to have the keys left in them! Please don't be complacent.
Don't be caught out. Your insurance may not pay out. Lock it or lose it!