Safety drive in the dunes
By WILL JACKSON
Police dish out tips on how to guard valuables when at the beach
SENIOR Constable Michael Hogan hit the dunes yesterday to warn beachgoers about keeping their valuables safe.
"People seem to get complacent during the holiday period," the Richmond Local Area Command's crime prevention officer said.
"They forget if they leave their mobile phone lying around there's a chance someone else is going to take it."
He said there had been a spate of thefts reported over the past six weeks, with about eight to 10 reported around Ballina's Shelly and Lighthouse beaches.
Yesterday Snr Const Hogan travelled from South Ballina to Broken Head putting warning flyers on cars in beachfront car parks and cruising the dunes giving advice on how to keep valuables safe.
"People should ask themselves if they really need to bring their cameras, MP3 players or other valuables to the beach in the first place," he said.
It is legal to carry a photocopy of your licence while driving, so it's not even necessary for people to take their wallets.
He warned people to take only their car key down to the beach and not remote unlocking devices.
"I call them auto-finders. All a thief has to do is walk into the car park, press 'unlock' and they can locate your car," he said.
He warned people to remove any documents that identified where they lived ? such as registration papers ? or their home might be the thieves' next target.
After only a brief survey of cars in the Shelly Beach car park, Snr Const Hogan spied a pair of expensive glasses, a watch and a wetsuit in view in different cars.
"Thieves are very opportunistic. If they see something they'll simply smash a window and grab it, so people should keep any valuables out of sight of passersby," he said.
"They're mainly after easily saleable items and money.
"It's the old story ? thieves go on holiday too."