In the last year, police in Australia’s Yarra Range have had to deal with a 10% increase in car theft. The Australian government has decided to place partial responsibility for this with its citizens, by imposing fines for unattended vehicles left unlocked. Starting today, motorists who do not lock their cars can face a fine of $358 AU.
According to Yarra Range Traffic Enforcement officer Sergeant John Morgan, ‘‘It puts our crime stats up, it wastes police man hours in investigating the crimes in the first instance and ultimately it will put up insurance premiums.”
The new laws affect all drivers, and include the provisions that if someone under 16 is left in a parked car, the keys must be removed from the ignition. Windows may be lowered up to 2 cm for ventilation, but if left down any more than that, the car will be considered “unsecured,” and subject to the fine.
Included in the bill is a $234 AU fine for littering cigarette butts on the streets of Melbourne. Local government officials cite cigarettes as the number one cause of litter in the city; over 11,000 butts are picked up off Melbourne streets every day.