Minister for Police Lisa Neville today launched a new campaign to drive down thefts of and from vehicles across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula.

The high-profile community campaign will raise awareness about how drivers can help prevent thefts and protect their property from being stolen.

The City of Greater Geelong and the Bellarine Community Safety Group have collaborated to develop the campaign, with funding of $16,000 from the Victorian Government’s $19.4 million Community Crime Prevention Program.

There has been a significant increase in theft of and from cars in Greater Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula recently, with unlocked cars contributing to this increase in theft.

Across Victoria, police statistics show that there was no sign of forced entry in more than half of all thefts from cars.

The Help Yourself campaign will encourage drivers to take simple steps including ensuring valuables are out of sight, cars are parked in well-lit and secure areas and vehicles locked. It will also help send a clear message to would-be thieves of increased vigilance and action by the police and community.

As part of the campaign, Victoria Police is also partnering with local Men’s Sheds and other community groups to hold Safe Plate days throughout 2017, fitting number plates to vehicles using one-way screws, free of charge.

The first Safe Plate day will be held on 18 March 2017 at the Bellarine Village in Newcomb.

Posters, advertising and signs with crime prevention tips will be rolled out across the region on community noticeboards, shop windows and Neighbourhood Watch material, as well as online.

This will continue to build on the Bellarine Community Safety Group’s work, including the recently launched bSafe website, which delivers crime prevention advice and tips to the Bellarine community.

The government is also delivering a record $2 billion investment for police to address local crime issues, which includes an additional 3135 new police across Victoria over the next five years.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville:

“Everyone can help to drive down thefts and reduce crime, and this new campaign will show car owners that their part is very simple.”

“Those simple steps include things like ensuring vehicles are locked and windows are closed, removing valuables and parking in a safe space that’s well-lit or off the street.”

“The Victorian Government is working closely with the Geelong and Bellarine communities to address crime across the region through crime prevention initiatives and a record $2 billion state-wide police investment.”