Unsecured garages in underground car parks in Leichhardt district are easy targets for thieves. Photo: Senior Constable Jeremy Constable/Facebook

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Police are urging residents to secure their belongings after a spike in the number of break-ins from underground parking garages in the Leichhardt area.

Residential complexes with large underground garages have been targeted in the last two weeks. Items stolen include bicycles, golf clubs and, in one instance, a car.

Leichhardt Local Area Command Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constable Jeremy Addison, said residents should not be lured into a false sense of security just because there is a security gate and security cameras in the car park.

“The majority of security gates take a long time to close after they’ve been opened by the resident, so thieves would just run in after the gate has been opened to gain access to the underground car park,” Sen Const Addison said.

“People who have been broken into often have their doors unlocked on the individual [caged] garages . . . It’s often a matter of thieves trying every door in the garage until one opens, and they can break in and steal things.”

The break-ins have occurred across the Leichhardt area, but many of the cases reported have come from Rozelle.

Sen Const Addison said people should take personal responsibility to ensure their belongings are safe.

“Make sure you are not followed into your underground parking garage. Don’t leave valuables or gate opener clearly displayed in your car or garage, keep them hidden and secured.

“Close windows and lock the doors of your vehicle.”

Leichhardt Councillor John Jobling, who lives in Rozelle, said it was up to the strata management of residential complexes to remind people about the problem.

“They and the insurance companies should regularly raise this issue with the residents to ensure they keep their belongings safe in the garage,” Cr Jobling said.

“I see many removalists who come in and block the doors with a rug or a box to keep the gate open, and it makes it easy for thieves to come in . . . so I make sure that my vehicle door is locked all the time.”

Sen Const Addison said he has dropped pamphlets in the affected neighbourhoods to raise awareness about the issue, while police have stepped up patrols in the area.

“We think it’s likely one or two people are doing this [who] are coming into the area.
“Meanwhile, we encourage people to follow our updates on Facebook, as we can get the message out to a lot of people easily.”

Rozelle/Iron Cove Precinct Committee chairman Mark Wallis said he was unaware of the issue until it was brought to his attention by Leichhardt Cr Craig Channells.

Mr Wallis said the issue will be brought up in the next meeting, but more needs to be done by Council and the local police to bring these issues directly to the committee.

“In future, we believe that crime information should be disseminated directly to the Precinct Committee so that people would be aware of it,” he said.

“It’s not something that is being raised directly right now and it’s the perfect issue for the precinct committee to discuss.”