Rebecca Di Nuzzo, 17 December 2015

POLICE are urging people to keep an eye on their handbags and watch out for thieves stealing numberplates from vehicles.

Sergeant Paul Melrose from Prahran police station said incidents of handbag thefts typically rose when the weather got warmer and more patrons visited cafes.

“It’s such a pain when you lose your handbag and have your credit cards stolen,” Sgt Melrose said.

“Don’t keep your entire life in your handbag. It’s all about forewarning people.”

Stolen numberplates were also often used to commit other offences, such as stealing fuel from petrol stations or for travelling on tollways without paying, he said.

More than 100 numberplates have been stolen from vehicles in Port Phillip in the year to June, and 53 thefts were recorded in Stonnington, according to figures provided to the Leaderby Sgt Melrose and compiled using information from the Crime Statistics Agency Victoria.

And a total of 255 handbag thefts were reported across both municipalities in the same 12-month period.

Sgt Melrose said police were building a database of businesses with street facing CCTV cameras that could be used to investigate incidents of theft along shopping strips.

Signs were also being put up in public spaces by the Stonnington Council to act as a visual reminder for people to keep their handbag secure.

Sgt Melrose suggested people hook the handle of their handbag underneath a chair leg when sitting at a cafe to anchor it to the ground.

Numberplates could also be attached to a car using one-way screws instead of the standard flathead screws to make it more difficult for people to steal them, he added.

Extracted in full from the Herald Sun.