Shepparton police have been busy placing ‘‘Remove it, Lock it or Lose it’’ notices on unprotected cars and bicycles this week.
Operation Unguarded started on Monday and aims to provide bicycle and car owners with a not-so-subtle reminder to guard their belongings.
The operation follows a recent rise in the number of vehicle thefts where the victim’s car was left unlocked and an increase in bicycles being stolen.
Shepparton police crime prevention officer Leading Senior Constable Glenn Gibson said many thieves were opportunistic and had no issues taking advantage of people who left their valuables unguarded.
‘‘Unlocked doors and open windows make a thief’s job very easy,’’ he said.
‘‘Even if a car door is locked, any valuables which are clearly visible are likely to entice a thief to break into that vehicle.’’
Ex-Shepparton resident Denzel Phillips knows what it is like to lose his car to thieves.
During a visit to Shepparton in early September, Mr Phillips’ ute was stolen after offenders broke into his parents’ home and stole his keys.
Mr Phillips said his car was driven from Shepparton to Geelong and then to Bendigo, where police recovered the ute that was so badly damaged it could not be used again.
Mr Phillips said it was an inconvenience losing his car and he encouraged people to take every step possible to make sure their vehicle was locked and secure.
Leading Sen Const Gibson said proactively locking cars, keeping valuables out of sight and parking vehicles in garages or well-lit areas were vital steps in deterring criminals.
He said bicycle owners also needed to be mindful of protecting their two-wheel transports.
‘‘Always lock up your bike, even at home, and if you need to leave your bicycle outside, lock it to a fixed object,’’ Leading Sen Const Gibson said.
‘‘Engraving your bike with your licence number is a sure-fire way for you to be able to identify your bike in the event it is stolen and recovered.’’
Operation Unguarded will run until mid-December across Shepparton.
If you have seen any suspicious behaviour in your area remember to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.