Vehicle crime

Vehicles can be very tempting targets for opportunistic thieves.

With the growing use of expensive and portable devices, it is more important than ever to ensure you remove valuables to prevent becoming a victim of such crime.

Some of the most popular items stolen by thieves are those which are easy to access and portable such as:

  • Sat navs
  • Handbags, purses, wallets
  • Tools
  • Mobile phones
  • Cash
  • Documents
  • Laptops

To avoid having your possessions stolen from your car there are a few simple things that you can do before leaving your vehicle parked, whether at home or elsewhere.

Some of it may seem obvious but it is easy to forget and even the simplest precautions can make the difference.

Protecting your vehicle and belongings

Should the worst happen and your vehicle is broken into, you have a much better chance of being reunited with property if they have an easily identifiable mark on them such as your postcode or some other unique identification number. There are a variety of suitable methods such as special marker pens or etching.

You can keep a note of any valuable items and their identifying markers by registering them with www.immobilise.com. Immobilise is a police approved website and database which helps identify the owner of possessions which have been recovered; it may also help to convict the offender.

Making your vehicle and possessions more difficult and time consuming for a potential thief to access can help to protect your vehicle.

  • Mechanical immobilisers such as steering wheel locks are useful even if you already have an electronic immobiliser. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to fit.
  • Locking wheel nuts make it more difficult for your vehicle's wheels to be removed.
  • An alarm will alert people to your car being broken into but it must be installed properly.

Before you leave your vehicle (even if it's for just a few moments)
(Both public and private areas)

Once you are parked remove all items from display. Even old coats, plastic bags and CDs can draw the attention of a potential thief. Ideally, take the items with you but if you're not able to, put them in the glove compartment or lock them in the boot.

Don't forget to also remove anything that suggests you may have something of value in the vehicle such as the sat nav cradle or the tell-tale ring often left on your windscreen by a sat nav.

Even if you get out of your car for a few moments, such as to pay for fuel at the petrol station or quickly talking to a friend - don't leave your vehicle unlocked and unattended. Get into the habit of always closing the windows and sunroof, and locking the car.

A thief only needs a few seconds to jump into your car and drive away.

Parking:


At home

If you have a garage - use it, and don't forget to lock the garage door.

If you don't have a garage - make sure your car is parked in a well-lit area, ideally on your driveway, even if you live in a quiet area.

Some criminals may look through the house window, particularly the kitchen area to see if they can see the car keys. They may put things like fishing rods or clothes props with a coat hanger on the end through the letterbox to hook the keys and steal the vehicle.

So once you're home, don't leave your car keys anywhere within easy view and reach of the windows. Ideally, keep them in an obvious but hidden place such as in a drawer or cupboard away from windows and doors. But remember, if you do have your car keys attached to your house keys they need to be within easy reach in case you need to escape from the property in an emergency.

In a public area

Thieves like to target cars where there is minimal risk of being seen, so when parking away from home try to use areas which:

  • are busier and have more people walking around
  • are well-lit, open and with minimal concealed areas
  • display the 'Park Mark Safer Parking sign' as these are police approved parking facilities which are designed and managed to minimise the risk of car thieves operating.

To find a car park in your area visit www.parkmark.co.uk/

Other useful websites

www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/vehicle-crime/

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