DARING robberies and vehicle break-ins in broad daylight marred Diwali celebrations in the Sugar City over the weekend.
West police spokeswoman Naina Ragigia said in light of this police have stepped up operations in Lautoka.
"It is important that Lautoka residents take these warnings seriously because of the high number of break-ins, burglaries and vehicle break-ins that have been reported over the weekend," Mrs Ragigia said.
"What has been most alarming is that most of these break and enters have occurred during daylight hours or in the late afternoon, so we are asking all homeowners to take extra care in ensuring that homes are locked up and neighbours made aware of movements.
She added that two residents reported that their vehicles were broken into while they were shopping in the Lautoka central business district on Saturday.
"We ask that you do not leave valuables in parked vehicles to reduce the risk of break-ins and also urge vehicle owners to park in areas of high visibility."
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri also pleaded with vehicle owners to make sure their cars were locked before stepping out after an incident yesterday in Samabula where a car was stolen when the owner stepped out to buy bread.
"It was a negligence case," Inspector Sokomuri said.
"The vehicle owner left the keys in the ignition and his door open while he ran inside the shop to buy bread. The thieves came, stole his vehicle and drove off with it."
Mr Sokomuri said the same vehicle was then used in the robbery of a popular Chinese restaurant in Suva.
"They stole the car at about 10:45am and they robbed the Chinese restaurant within 15 minutes."
He asked vehicle owners to take special precautions when living keys in the ignition.
"When you have to get off to go somewhere, however short the distant and however safe you might think the area to be, at any time of the day, please take the keys out of the ignition and make sure your cars are locked.
"Do not offer perpetrators an opportunity to commit crime."
He added investigations into the robbery were ongoing and they would determine the cost of items stolen today.