HUNTER mayors have issued a warning to stay vigilant about potential car theft over the Christmas period as part of a $15,000 campaign.
Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Cessnock and Port Stephens are urging people to take extra precautions to prevent losing a car during the holiday season.
"One of the biggest factors to motor vehicle theft is home break-ins. It's common for a home burglar to steal car keys," City of Newcastle community safety facilitator Lisa Davis said.
"The majority of home burglaries are opportunistic, with burglars targeting houses they perceive as providing the easiest and quickest access points."
Residents are urged to keep keys out of sight at home, keep keys away from doors and windows and keep names and addresses off key rings and tags.
More than half of stolen vehicles in Newcastle in 2017 were parked on the street. Roughly 37 per cent were taken from residential dwellings.
Car keys are the most common target in modern burglaries, overtaking televisions and computers to feature in a quarter of break-and-enter cases.
Police attribute the trend to a change in car thief behaviour, with cars taken from homes rather than public areas to avoid the risk of being caught of surveillance cameras.
The councils' campaign is funded through a City of Newcastle grant secured from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
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