Nearly 200 homes have been broken into and more than 90 cars stolen in Orange since December, police told a community safety meeting on Tuesday.
The Central West Police District Community Safety Precinct Committee meeting was given the latest crime figures and trends for the Orange and Cabonne council areas from December to April.
Police told the meeting there were 195 break and enters in Orange, which spiked at 62 in January but dropped to 22 in April.
They said 92 cars were reported stolen in Orange with some being found burnt out and others recovered.
Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said in some cases the break and enters and car thefts were linked.
There was one last week where cash was left on a table and the car keys were taken.Superintendent Chris Taylor, Commander Central West Police District
He said thieves often took advantage of residents leaving their keys in their cars.
"They'll have a house they've broken into, they'll go into the garage and the owner has left the keys in the car, sitting there in the garage," he said.
"All they do is hit the button to open up the garage and they drive their car out and take all the proceeds from the house and that's what they do.
"We've got to, as a community, understand we've got to do the right thing in our own homes as well, keep those keys away, make sure our homes are locked so these opportunist crimes don't occur.
"If I don't leave keys in the house somewhere where they could be found, I am not going to get my car pinched, because they will not try and hotwire a car in a house but if there's a set of keys in it they'll take it.
Crooks love targeting people who are vulnerable.Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick
"Crooks love targeting people who are vulnerable."
Superintendent Chris Taylor said thieves were even putting cars ahead of a cash.
"There was one last week where cash was left on a table and the car keys were taken," he said.
However, Chief Inspector Peter Atkins said police were hot on the heels of car thieves.
"A percentage of [cars] were recovered, a percentage of them were found burnt out, a percentage were stolen from break and enters. About 18 per cent, almost one in five of people who steal cars [got] arrested," he said.
Inspector Grassick said sensor lights were as effective as having CCTV installed at houses to deter criminals.
"CCTV lights are brilliant but the sensor light is one of the best deterrents. As soon as they [thieves] get lit up they want to get out," he said.
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