COMMUNITY constables are to target car criminals in a three-month blitz.
Huddersfield police are setting up a temporary Community Safety Vehicle Crime Unit in a bid to drive out car crime in the area.
The five constables, led by Sgt John McFadzean, will target persistent offenders.
Police believe the community constables are best for the job because of their in-depth knowledge of the areas they usually patrol.
Huddersfield police commander Chief Supt John Holt said: "We have picked community beat officers who have a good local knowledge of areas, particularly rural ones, to tackle the issue of car thieves and reduce the number of car crime victims.
"Thefts of and from motor vehicles occur mainly outside town centres in rural places. Town centre car crime is low due to extensive CCTV coverage and also car parks which have been `secured by design' specifically to keep criminals away."
He praised Kirklees Council for the way it had improved security in town centre car parks with extra lighting and more car park attendants.
The Community Safety Vehicle Crime Unit will also give advice to motorists to reduce the risk of crime.
Chief Supt Holt said members of the special squad had been picked only from areas where there was another community constable working alongside police community support officers.
"No areas have been left uncovered due to the formation of this unit," he stressed.
"We hope the team will act as a deterrent to other offenders, not just those intent on vehicle crime."
One of the team members is Holme Valley community constable Pc Russ Conlon, who won this year's 999 Personality Award at the Examiner's Community Awards.
He said: "I'm looking forward to working in the vehicle crime unit and focusing my efforts on persistent offenders.
"My local area has suffered from a number of car thefts and thefts from motor vehicles recently and I will be working hard to arrest those responsible."
Chief Supt Holt urged members of the public to join the fight against car crime by taking simple crime prevention measures.
He said: "Most car crime can be prevented by people being extra vigilant.
"Being on the receiving end of car crime is not only a distressing experience, but also inconvenient. It is potentially devastating for people who rely on vehicles for their livelihood or mobility."
MAKE IT HARD FOR THE THIEF
SIMPLE crime prevention tips include:
* Always keep your car in a garage if at all possible, or on a driveway protected by security lighting.
* Always lock your car and take the keys with you, even if you are just paying for fuel.
* When leaving your car, always make sure it is locked and valuables are out of sight in the boot or take them with you. Don't leave possessions on display, even an old coat. A thief might think it contains a purse or wallet.
* At night, park in an open, well-lit place.
* Don't leave ownership details or paperwork such as insurance documents in the car.
* Fit extra security, such as an alarm, immobiliser or a special lock.
* Remove the car stereo if possible.
Further tips on preventing vehicle crime can be found on the West Yorkshire Police website at www.west yorkshire.police.uk or contact your local crime prevention officer on 0845 6060606.