POLICE in Ryedale have launched a campaign to clamp down on car crime - after new figures revealed the full extent of the problem.

Statistics show that since December 1, 2006, vandals have attacked 31 cars in the district.

Virtually all the offences took place in the areas of Malton, Norton and Pickering.

Officers working with the Safer Ryedale Partnership are now aiming to keep that figure down in months to come.

PC Terry Triffitt, of Safer Ryedale, said: "An analysis of crimes reported in the past six weeks shows that the majority of criminal damage offences are targeted against motor vehicles - 31 crimes in Ryedale since December 1.

"The majority of these vehicles, over 60 per cent, are parking in public streets, generally outside the owner's home address.

"And virtually all of these have taken place in the Malton, Norton and Pickering areas."

Although cars are the number one target for criminal damage in Ryedale, police say the total number is still comparatively low - and most offences are random, rather than specifically targeted.

However, they have issued a series of safety measures to follow:

  • If you have a garage, then please consider using it. Your car is far more valuable than your lawn-mower and garden furniture
  • If you have a driveway, then park on it, instead of leaving the vehicle in the street
  • If your vehicle has to be in the street, flatten your mirrors against the sides, if possible. If you have a retractable aerial, make sure you collapse it - before somebody else does
  • If you are in the habit of parking on a street that late-night revellers use to walk home, park as near as possible to street lighting. Alternatively, park in a well-lit public car park. Parking is free after 6pm in all Ryedale District Council car parks. Statistically, your car will be safer in a car park than in the street
  • Ring 999 if you see a crime occurring, or 0845 6060247 if you have any information concerning a particular offence.