A WARNING has been issued to Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Redditch residents to think about the security and safety of their motor vehicles.

Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Dave Goosen said although vehicle crime generally remained fairly stable throughout the year, historically there is an increase in January and March.

“It is difficult to say what these spikes are down to but we are bringing them to the attention of the public now so that they are aware of the possible dangers, and reminded to ensure their vehicles are not left vulnerable," he said.

“I’d like to remind residents that it only takes seconds for someone to smash a window of a car and remove anything inside of value, whether it be a satellite navigation system, laptop, mp3 player, handbag, mobile phone or some loose change.

“Even hiding valuables out of view can be ineffective, as offenders may have been watching where you put them or know the common places to look, such as under seats or in the glove box.

“By removing everything of value from your vehicle, the risk of it being broken into is significantly reduced.

"Leaving valuable items inside - especially if they are on show - is an open invitation for thieves to break in."

DCI Goosen also looked at the issue with frost and icy periods, when residents have left cars unlocked, unattended and with keys in while de-icing.

He said: "You wouldn't usually leave your car unlocked and with the keys in it, so why risk it in winter for the sake of a few minutes.

“That’s all the time it takes for an opportunistic thief to drive off with your vehicle whilst you’re waiting inside keeping warm.

“Despite repeated warnings, some drivers do still leave their cars unattended on driveways or on the street outside their properties.

“Nobody seems to think it’s going to happen to them but every winter we receive calls from people who are caught unawares by car thieves when their backs are turned.”

DCI Goosen added that people should always call immediately to report anything suspicious they see or hear, as soon as is possible, so officers can respond to the call immediately.

“A lot of people now ignore both car and other alarms if they hear one going off, but we would ask people to please call in if they hear one and let us check it out.

“If the vehicle has been broken into, the sooner we are aware, the better the chance of us catching the offender or offenders in the area."

Anyone who wishes to report anything suspicious is asked to call the police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more crime prevention advice visit West Mercia Police's website westmercia.police.uk/vehicle.