More than 4,000 cars were found to be vulnerable to thieves in Doncaster vehicle crime hot spots,a survey revealed.
Police Community support officers who checked 36,000 cars and vans as part of a crime reduction operation found 89 vehicles were not locked properly, and 4,167 had been left with valuable items on show which could attract thieves.
The community support officers checked cars and vans in target spots where vehicle crime was the highest in their area, which covers the town centre, Balby, Hexthorpe, Hyde Park, Intake, Wheatley, Cantley and Bessacarr as part of Operation Lockdown, which started in October.
Sergeant Lynne Lancaster said: “We’ve been carrying out regular patrols since Operation Lockdown began, but last month there were still 56 times when a thief stole or tried to steal from a vehicle and six vehicles were stolen.
“When we spoke with offenders they revealed they’d try door handles to see if the vehicle was open, so we thought we’d get in first.
“If the vehicle is insecure or vulnerable then we’ve been knocking on doors to tell people or trying to trace the owner to educate them and prevent them from becoming a victim.
“Most people have reacted very positively to us being out and about and were full of praise for officers being so pro-active.
“Mainly they were shocked that they had left their vehicles open or left valuables on display, simply without thinking in almost all cases.”
Sgt Lancaster said that worryingly some drivers were leaving vehicles unlocked and a substantial number were leaving expensive items such as lap tops, handbags, sat navs and loose change on show.
“This is just an invitation to thieves,” she warned.
She added that she wanted to make sure that car thieves did not have easy pickings.
Operation Lockdown was launched in October by South Yorkshire Police. So far, more than 1,200 suspects have been arrested.