By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: The New South Wales Police Minister, David Campbell, has issued a warning to motorists following a 600 per cent rise in the theft of GPS devices from parked cars this year and a general rise in motor vehicle break-ins in the state.

More than 3,300 GPS navigation units have been stolen from vehicles in NSW to date in 2007, according to Campbell, along with iPods, mobile phones and other valuables.

“That is a 600 per cent increase on the number of units stolen from vehicles in all of 2006,” Campbell said.

“While this is obviously linked to the increased popularity of GPS units, it is still a worrying trend.

“The best way to beat criminals is to not leave any valuables around for them to take.”

Campbell said there has been a rise in overall vehicle break-ins in NSW, which he attributed to more people carrying high-tech consumer electronics goods with them in their cars.

Police figures reveal that residential and business car parks were the most common places for people to have their cars broken in to.

“Shopping centres and railway stations were third and fourth on the list and below them was beach parking areas,” he said.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data provided by NSW Police reveals that while most other crimes including murder and sexual assault were either stable or falling in NSW, stealing from a motor vehicle had increased by 4.7 per cent in the two years to June 2007.

“With the weather getting warmer, motorists need to resist the temptation to park with the windows down because it exposes them to thieves. It’s not worth losing valuable jewellery or an expensive piece of electronic gadgetry,” said Campbell.