By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Car security begins at home, says Greater Dandenong Neighbourhood Watch president Dawn Vernon.

The crime-prevention group pitched into Operation Bounce Back – a joint campaign to help residents protect their cars from thieves.

About 75 per cent of stolen cars are taken while parked close to home, including driveways and garages, Ms Vernon said.

Many are due to simple oversights that ‘open the door’ for car-thieves, such as leaving keys in the ignition, she said.

Residents are also advised to provide a clear line of sight from their home to the street, and to lock all doors and windows including the internal entry to the garage.

Security lighting and a home alarm system should also be considered.

Operation Bounce Back is holding information stalls at Springvale railway station on Monday 16 July, 1pm-3pm, and Noble Park station on Wednesday 25 July, 8.30am-10.30am.

Greater Dandenong is also screening an educational animation at Harmony Square.

It is a joint initiative of Greater Dandenong Council, Victoria Police and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.

In July, Greater Dandenong Neighbourhood Watch is also giving thanks to its cohort of loyal volunteers during its lifetime.

The venerable crime-prevention group is holding a certificate presentation for past and present helpers at its general meeting.

Guest speaker is Neighbourhood Watch Victoria’s chief executive Bambi Gordon, who is marking the statewide organisation’s 35th birthday.

In that time, the nature of neighbourhoods has changed, Ms Vernon said.

A close neighbourhood that looks out for one another feels a safer place, she said.

“A lot of people say they don’t know their neighbours.

“I have great neighbours because I take that step out and welcome them to the neighbourhood.”

Rather than letterbox drops, the group sends out free email letters by subscription.

It also keeps a Facebook page to reach out across the entire Greater Dandenong region.

The general meeting is at Paddy O’Donoghue Centre, 18-34 Buckley Street, Noble Park on Wednesday 18 July, 7.30pm.

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