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Police operation suggests one in 50 cars are being left unlocked in central Watford

26 Feb 2021
  • Results of police operation suggest one in 50 cars are left unlocked in central Watford

  • Two PCs spent two nights trying 1,500 car door handles - while wearing PPE - in the Central Watford ward

  • They prevented thousands of pounds worth of tools from being stolen from an insecure van

The results of a neighbourhood police operation suggest that approximately one in 50 cars are left unlocked in the centre of Watford.

A team of two officers – PC Rory Farmer and PC Ash Jones – carried out the operation in response to a recent spike in thefts from vehicles in the town centre, as well as feedback from the force’s community voice platform, echo.

During the two-day operation on the evenings of Saturday 20 February and Sunday 21 February, they donned appropriate PPE before trying in excess of 1,500 vehicles to see if they had been left unlocked.

The team identified 36 insecure vehicles on several streets in the Watford Central ward – one of which contained power tools worth thousands of pounds, which they were able to successfully prevent from being stolen.

PC Farmer said: “We managed to speak to 14 of the vehicle owners to ensure that theft was prevented, and we left information leaflets for the remaining 22 people.

“While leaving your car or van unlocked isn’t the leading cause of the rise in thefts of this type, in doing so there is a significant risk that your vehicle will be targeted.

“Therefore it is vital that motorists make sure their vehicles are left secured and valuables are removed, particularly if you’re leaving them parked in the street overnight.

“We know it can be so easy to forget to check you’ve locked the car, but it’s important that we build it into part of our daily routine to prevent ourselves from becoming victims of crime.

“If you lock your vehicle using a fob please also double check it’s secure by trying the door handles and make sure all of the windows are closed. It only takes a couple of seconds to do.”

During the operation, the team were pleased to see that several members of the public challenged them about their behaviour after seeing them trying the car door handles.

PC Farmer added: “It was great to see neighbours looking out for one another, and we would always encourage you to call 999 if you see someone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of your, or any other, vehicle. A crime could potentially be in progress and by calling 999 you are giving us the best possible chance to attend immediately and detain any suspects.”

You can use our community voice platform ‘echo’ to let us know what you think we should be prioritising in your area. Your feedback will help towards shaping our local policing priorities, initiatives and campaigns. Visit and tell us what you think.

Please don’t use echo to report an ongoing crime or incident. Remember: if you believe a crime is in progress or someone is in danger, always dial 999.

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