Cops in Wollongong are really worried about carelessness. Specifically, they're worried about you leaving valuables in your unlocked car. And they’ve taken up a pretty cooked approach to combating it. Police have been been going into unlocked cars, without owner permission, to see if anything valuable is inside.
Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth explained to the ABC: "We have been seeing how many cars are unlocked and then seeing what valuables are inside." They justify it as preventing break ins by getting there before a criminal does. Cool, cool, cool, not at all weird.
If you’re unfortunate enough for a cop to get into your car, something you own, without your permission or a warrant, you could also get stung with a $108 fine for leaving it unlocked.
So far, cops report they’ve found 30 unlocked cars across a couple of nights containing valuables. Luckily those 30 didn’t get fined, they were just left with a note telling them to be more careful. Police have said they don’t actually see the fines being used regularly. "It would be a crook day when we have to do that, but that's one of the options up our sleeve," Detective Inspector Ainswoth added.
So this feels illegal right? Well it’s not because of an obscure law that previously hadn’t been enforced. But that justification isn’t cutting it for creeped-out residents. NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks has hit back. Pointing out how busted it is to enter someone’s car without a warrant or any proof that something illegal is going down. The ABC also reported that Illawarra Facebook page has been has been flooded with angry comments reacting to the news.