A SPATE of car thefts in Portlethen has prompted police and local councillors to issue safety advice to residents.
The Hillside area of the town has been targeted in particular by opportunistic thieves who appear to be following a simple pattern of trying house doors and, when finding them unlocked, gaining access to car keys and making off with the vehicles. There have also been attempted thefts of cars.
Newtonhill has also been targeted and a car theft was reported in Muchalls.
Other victims have found that unlocked garages and cars have been ransacked and valuables stolen.
North Kincardine Councillor Ian Mollison told the Leader that the recent crimes were concerning local people.
He said: “The police have been putting a lot of resources into catching the people who have been stealing cars. Quite how they stop this I’m not sure, but if they catch those who are doing it I am sure it will deter others.
“When police have come to the local community council meetings recently there has been a constantly repeated message to make sure that your home and car are locked, and keys are kept out of view.
“It is not only the victims who could be affected by this, it may be that insurance companies will raise their premiums for those living in affected areas, so we could all end up paying the penalty for the misbehaviour of these people.
“We all just need to take some simple precautions to protect our homes and cars.”
Councillor Alison Evison said: “The continuing spate of car crime is very disturbing and is naturally creating a lot of anxiety in the area.
“It is good that the police are treating it as a priority and responding rapidly to incidents. We need to continue to support the police and give them any information we can to support their work.
“Local residents are encouraging each other to secure their property, particularly at night, and are alerting each other to incidents in the area.
“We need to maintain awareness of this situation, which is not unique to North Kincardine but is happening across Aberdeenshire.
“Continuing road safety education in schools is also important to make the young people who seem to be committing some of these crimes more aware not only of the distress they are causing, but also of the potential dangers of their actions. The new Police Authority must prioritise prevention as well as enforcement. “
Police Scotland said in a statement: “We would encourage people to ensure that their doors and windows are locked as well as making sure that garages and cars are secured in order to deter opportunistic thieves. If anyone does have information about people acting suspiciously in their area, they should contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to remain anonymous.”
Police Scotland have also issued further safety advice on their website. Tips include: place a sticker on a conspicuous window of your home that states your possessions have been security marked will also help to deter thieves - ask for one of these stickers at your local police office - don’t give keys to tradesmen as they can make copies quickly and easily and don’t go in if you see signs of a break-in at your home - like a smashed window or an open door. The burglar may still be inside. Instead, go to a neighbour and call the police.