Kieran Banks, 20 October 2015

MORE than 1200 cars were stolen across the Northern Territory in the last financial year, prompting a new police campaign to raise awareness.

And Acting Commander of Crime Col Goodsell said most thefts were preventable.

Police conducted an investigation which found of the 1203 cars stolen in the 2014-15 financial year – equivalent to three cars every day – in 70 per cent of cases car keys were ­stolen from homes or left inside or near the car.

Acting Commander Goodsell said car thefts had increased by 24 per cent since 2011.

He said the art of hot wiring a car was dead and thieves needed the keys of late model cars to steal them.

Yesterday Strike Force Trident charged two boys aged 13 and 14 after they allegedly broke into a Bellamack property and stole a Nissan Pathfinder over the weekend.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Stringer alleges the duo drove the car from Darwin to Katherine and stole fuel from a number of service stations, allegedly hitting another car during the joy ride.

The boys were both charged with aggravated unlawful entry, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and driving unlicensed.

Acting Commander Goodsell said car thefts had been on the rise for five years and motorists needed to take more ­responsibility for securing their keys inside their homes.

Police started a social media campaign yesterday to raise awareness of the thefts.

“From a policing perspective there’s only so much we can do to secure people’s property. We want to reinforce with the public that they need to take some responsibility and ensure their keys aren’t left accessible,” he said.

A spokeswoman for insurance company TIO said car theft statistics were considered when calculating insurance premiums.

She said car thefts comprised only a small percentage of total claims paid.

“Around 69 per cent of car thefts between March 2014 and March 2015 were from people stealing keys, the majority of which were taken through unlocked doors and the keys being near the front door,” she said.

“We encourage motorists not to leave their keys in the car and only a very small percentage of theft claims are from this.

“Each claim is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

Extracted in full from the NT News.