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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Theft warning for motorists
Police officer
Police warn drivers to remove valuables
Police in Swansea have urged motorists not to leave valuables on display after a new study revealed high levels of theft from cars.

South Wales Police received 100 reports of thefts from vehicles in Swansea within a fortnight.

When they analysed the lost goods, they found the average theft from each car amounted to nearly 300.

This figure did not include the cost of repair to vehicles, or the loss of data on laptop or handheld computers.

Superintendent Tim Jones, of Cockett Police Station, said: "The value of goods taken from vehicles for the period amounts to 29,290 which averages at an astonishing 292 per vehicle.

"There are examples of people losing laptops with months of irreplaceable information."

"You can't count the cost of stolen documents," said Supt Jones

The police aimed to find out what types of property thieves targeted, what methods they favoured to break into cars and to determine which areas of the city were most vulnerable.

Don't tempt the thief. Leave valuable goods in the boot, or out of site.
Superintendent Tim Jones
They also hoped to raise public awareness of the problem.

On average, each car in the study had eight items stolen. The majority were parked on the street when the crime took place, and only 5% were parked on driveways.

CD players proved to be the most popular items with car thieves, with 55 stolen from the 100 incidents in the study.

After years of steady decline in the theft and resale of radio cassette players, the new technology appears to be fuelling a boom in the market.

Car crime in Swansea
11% of cars in the study were not locked

Police are recommending motorists to buy CD players that can be removed and to remember to take the equipment with them whenever they leave their car unattended, even for short periods.

"Don't tempt the thief," said Supt. Jones.

"Leave valuable goods in the boot, or out of site."

He also made a plea to the public not to buy second hand goods like CD players that they suspected might be stolen, as this demand created an incentive for car thieves.

The study was undertaken as part of the Safer Swansea partnership, a crime prevention initiative launched earlier this year.

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