20 cars in two weeks: Spike in car break-ins at Ballina

TWENTY motor vehicles have been robbed in Ballina over the past fortnight as car break-ins spike across town.

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said all the vehicles involved in the thefts were left unlocked.

Det Insp Lindsay said it's a concern people are not only leaving their cars unlocked but also leaving valuables such as laptops and iPads in their unlocked vehicles.

Police have arrested three young people in connection to the incidents. Two will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act and the third was charged and arrested last week.

The third person was charged with larceny, receiving stolen property and goods in custody. The young person was granted conditional bail and will appear in Ballina Childrens Court on December 19.

Insp Lindsay said police will allege the three young people are responsible for at least some of the recent thefts.

Crime prevention manager, Senior Constable David Henderson said motor vehicles have been targeted in Ballina's CBD with most thefts occurring at night.

Snr Const Henderson said hotpot streets include: Tamarind Dr, Cherry St, Canal Rd and River St.

The latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research quarterly crime report said there were 187 thefts from motor vehicles in the Ballina local government area in the past 12 months to June.

Tweed/Byron police have also observed a number of cars unlocked with valuables in view in the Byron Bay.

As the Northern Rivers approaches the beginning of the summer holiday period, Snr Const Henderson echoed the warnings of the Richmond and Tweed/Byron LACs by urging people to lock their cars and take out any valuables, or removing them from view, before exiting the vehicle.

He said leaving so much as a cigarette in your motor vehicle could be enough to provoke a thief to break into to a car.

Under the Australian Road Rules, it is an offence to leave your car unsecured and you can be fined. A driver is considered to have left the vehicle when he or she is more than 3m from the vehicle.

Before you leave the vehicle, unless there is somebody older than 16-years-old who is remaining in it, you must, switch off the engine, apply the parking brake, remove the ignition key and wind up the windows if possible.

However, a small gap of 5cm or less is acceptable and the doors should be locked.

Most insurance companies warn on their websites that car and contents insurance may be voided if the car is found to be unlocked.

If you have information in relation to motor vehicle break-ins in Ballina, report it to Ballina Police Station, 6681 8699 or Crime Stoppers, 1800 333 000.

Don't be next

How you can prevent thieves breaking into your motor vehicle:

  • Close all windows,
  • Remove the key from the ignition and lock all doors.
  • Ensure that you have removed all property from view, especially mobile telephones, clothing, bags and money in consoles when you leave your car - either take it with you or lock it in the boot.
  • Try to park in a busy, well lit area and avoid car parks that have a history of theft or break-ins;
  • Have an engine immobilizer or fuel cut-out switch installed to restrict the theft of your motor vehicle. Research has shown that this is one of the most effective ways to beat a thief;
  • Use locking devices on the steering wheel or transmission shift. These devices can act as a deterrent to a thief;
  • Don't leave personal papers such as licence or registration in your motor vehicle. They may be used by the thief to dispose of your motor vehicle;
  • Take your parking station ticket with you when you leave your motor vehicle unattended. This can make it difficult for the thief to steal your motor vehicle;
  • Use caution when taking goods to your motor vehicle in shopping centres. Some thieves watch owners take property to their motor vehicles and steal the items when they leave to continue shopping.


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