Keys the key to stopping car thefts

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Police, FMG and ESS are cracking odwn on keys being left in cars.
Camera IconPolice, FMG and ESS are cracking odwn on keys being left in cars. Credit: Alexander Scott

The number of car thefts at two fly-in, fly-out camps near Port Hedland has dropped to zero following a three-month campaign rolled out by Port Hedland police and two mining giants.

Police have spent the past three months working with employees at ESS Gateway and FMG Sodexo to stop employees leaving keys in unattended vehicles.

In the 90 days before the strategy began, more than 80 per cent of commercial vehicles stolen were from the two sites had had the keys left in the ignition.

Port Hedland police Senior Constable Tom Gryta said police needed to change the behaviour of employees on-site leaving keys in unattended vehicles.

“Since (three months ago), the companies have put a lot of proactive measures in place, working with police to try and prevent this happening,” he said.

“We’ve seen massive success on those two sites, with offending being reduced because we’ve taken away the ability for that opportunistic crime to occur.”

Sen. Const. Gryta said in the 90 days since police began working with the sites, there had been no vehicle thefts.

“A lot of it has been public information-driven,” he said.

“Those sites have a high turnover of employees and contractors using those facilities, so we’ve been reiterating the message — keys are king,” he said.

Sen. Const. Gryta said the police were concerned about juveniles stealing the vehicles.

“If juveniles are stealing vehicles, there's a present and clear risk to the community,” he said.

“It is critical that as a community that we all try and combat it.”

Sen. Const Gryta said police were talking to other large companies to begin implementing strategies centred on public information.

In spite of this, there was a series of commercial thefts recently, with four vehicles stolen on the morning of November 16, with a further four stolen last Tuesday morning, with the keys inside.

Port Hedland officer-in-charge Steve Cleal said an overwhelming percentage of crime was opportunistic.

“If your car is unlocked — if you leave valuables in clear sight — if you leave your keys in the car— you leave yourself at risk of being a victim of crime,” he said.

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