In an attempt to reduce opportunistic car thefts and break-ins, local police have issued warnings to owners of cars left unlocked around a few popular local carparks in Byron Bay.
On discovering an unsecured vehicle, they placed a sternly worded flyer on the windshield warning the owner that it was ‘an offence to leave your car out in a public place unlocked’.
‘There are infringements of $120 for an unlocked car and keys left in the ignition as well,’ the message continued.
‘Lock it or lose it,’ the message concluded.
While the flyer stated that it was a warning only, the threat of a fine was not well received by some locals.
‘I want to know what the problem is with leaving a car unlocked?’ one resident asked on the Byron Community Board Facebook page.
‘What’s the law based on? Who’s it protecting? Oh that’s right. Silly me… the insurance companies.’
Others supported the move.
‘Given the disproportionate number of thefts in Byron Bay of property and vehicles I think it’s great that police are reminding people to lock up,’ another commenter said.
Detective Inspector Matthew Kehoe said the strategy had been devised by a Crime Prevention Officer at Tweed Heads following a spike in stealing offences from unlocked cars and properties in Kingscliff and Casuarina.
‘We haven’t seen a spike here, but we have had a number of opportunistic property thefts, and the intention was to get on the front foot with it,’ Inspector Kehoe said.
‘I understand there was some fall-out with people worrying about fines. There were no fines issued. It was just to alert people.
‘In all likelihood we’re not going to go around fining people for keeping their cars unlocked before Christmas. That would not be a very good PR exercise.’