ECEC services not immune to opportunistic crime – parents warned to stay alert
A mother collecting her five year old from an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in Melbourne has described her distress at returning to her car and finding the side window smashed, with her belongings stolen, reminding other parents not to leave their valuables in sight.
The issue of vehicle break-ins at childcare centres is not a new one, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on a spate of thefts in Sydney, as thieves watched closely for unattended vehicles with valuables in clear view.
Speaking with the Herald Sun, Adele Wriede described attending her daughter’s childcare service in Carnegie, Victoria, at around 6pm, locking her vehicle before entering the centre to collect her daughter.
Despite being “in and out in five minutes” Ms Wriede said she returned to find her passenger-side window broken, with her wallet, phone and other valuables in her handbag stolen, leaving her vulnerable to identity theft.
Ms Wriede wanted “to inform other parents to be wary of people loitering near childcare centres” and be alert, describing her daughter’s distress at returning to the car and finding it with smashed glass.
The Herald Sun reports Detective Sergeant Ray Hargreaves as saying that, whilst he didn’t believe thieves were targeting childcare centres specifically, parents were encouraged to not leave valuables unattended in their cars.
The ACT police force has recommended the following tips, to reduce the risk of theft or damage to a vehicle:
- Ensure the doors and boot are locked and secure
- Close all windows and the sunroof
- When parking at night, use an area that is well lit
- Do not leave valuables in a vehicle like your wallet, phone or tablet, even if it’s locked
- Spare keys or garage remotes should never be hidden in or on the car
- Remove cheque books, credit cards, driver’s licence and registration papers from the glove box
- Record serial numbers of valuables and details of the vehicle such as make, model and engine number
- Avoid placing name, address and registration number on keys
- Take car keys when leaving the vehicle, and when at home leave them in a secure place.
For more information on car park safety, including audits, click here.