SIXTEEN motor vehicles have been stolen from Moree streets since the beginning of September, Barwon police report.
A further six theft attempts have been reported to police in the same time.
The news comes as the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research centre’s quarterly report, released two weeks ago, revealed motor vehicle theft from the Moree Plains Council area actually decreased by 23 per cent over the past two years ending in June.
By comparison, the Tamworth Regional Council area recorded a rise in motor vehicle theft of 13 per cent during the same period, but local police reported the thefts had been falling over the past couple of months.
The trends reveal that vehicle theft incidents are continuing at an increasing level in the Moree sector while falling in others.
Barwon police say, by definition, the vehicles have been “recovered” but not before they were subjected to malicious damage, resulting in high costs and delays to their owners.
Yesterday morning a 1992 white Toyota Camry sedan became the latest reported stolen car and remained outstanding after it was taken from outside a Dover St home on Monday night.
It followed the theft of a 1999 model white Holden Rodeo utility the night before from a Walowa St home in Narrabri, a town also in the Barwon Local Area Command (LAC).
The two thefts confirm police suspicions that cars older than 10 years are often targeted because of a lack of advanced security systems.
Police have urged residents to ensure they were on top of their personal security at home and
with their vehicles, whether that meant using immobilisers and locks, or taking the simple – but overlooked – measure of ensuring spare keys were not left in cars.
Barwon LAC Superintendent Jenny Hayes said many of the thefts appeared to be opportunistic and owners could prevent thefts with more vigilance, security and storing keys securely.
“Thieves will often walk along the street testing car doors until they find one that is open,” she said.
“Valuables such as wallets, electronic devices, mobile phones and cash is another reason they will smash a window.”
Superintendent Hayes said once they were in, they would take the opportunity to steal the vehicle also.