Vehicle Crime

Stealing cars and other vehicles has become a way of life for some criminals. These are involved in organised vehicle crime principally to profit from re-selling stolen vehicles (cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, etc.) and parts.

Stolen vehicles can be used in other types of crime, for example during armed robberies. Whilst the sale of stolen vehicles and parts can be used to fund other types of crime.

A few types of car crime include:

  • Vehicle cloning
  • Stolen vehicles
  • Stolen number plates 
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Theft of personal belongings from vehicles. 

Thefts from vehicles

Leaving personal items in a parked car makes it more attractive to criminals. Most vehicle crime is opportunistic and therefore preventable. Here are some tips that will help you to protect your vehicle and deter potential thieves.

Don’t tempt a thief

  • Never leave anything on display in your vehicle; a bag on the back seat is enough to tempt a thief
  • Always remove your portable Sat Nav system including any support cradles and suctions pads that are fitted to the windscreen
  • Remember to wipe the mark off the windscreen
  • When you leave your car, close all windows including your sunroof and ensure that your car has been locked
  • Never leave credit cards or cash in the glove compartment
  • Don’t leave the vehicle documents in the car
  • Mark items such as CD players, and sat nav systems with your postcode or vehicle registration using a special security marker
  • Turn off the Bluetooth, on any of your items, as thieves can use this to target specific cars
  • During colder days, don’t leave the car running to defrost on the drive. Sit in it whilst it defrosts
  • Use theft resistant number plates.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have electronic immobilisers, install steering wheel locks which are inexpensive and easy to fit
  • If you don’t have an alarm, get one fitted by a professional
  • Get a lockable petrol cap. Some new cars have these as standard.
  • When you leave the car always remove the key from the ignition and lock all doors – it only takes a few seconds for a thief to jump into your car and drive away
  • At home, never leave your car keys, or house keys, near a door or window. Some thieves use a fishing rod or magnet on a stick to steal them through the letterbox
  • When you’re out and about ensure your keys aren’t exposed – it’s all too easy to leave them on a counter top or in an open handbag.

Use security devices to deter a thief

  • If your vehicle doesn’t have electronic immobilisers, install steering wheel locks which are inexpensive and easy to fit
  • If you don’t have an alarm, get one fitted by a professional
  • Get a lockable petrol cap. Some new cars have these as standard.

Keep your keys safe

  • When you leave the car always remove the key from the ignition and lock all doors – it only takes a few seconds for a thief to jump into your car and drive away
  • At home, never leave your car keys, or house keys, near a door or window. Some thieves use a fishing rod or magnet on a stick to steal them through the letterbox
  • When you’re out and about ensure your keys aren’t exposed – it’s all too easy to leave them on a counter top or in an open handbag.

Parking

Where you park can make a big difference to the safety of your car and your personal belongings.

If you have a garage, use it. Always lock your car and your garage door. If you don’t have a garage, park on your drive or on a well lit street.

Thieves always like to steal from cars which are parked in places where they run the least risk of being seen. Avoid parking in places that are concealed from public view.

Catalytic converters

If the catalytic converter is missing off your vehicle you will notice that the vehicle will make a noise that is louder than usual.

To protect your converter it can be etched with a serial number or alternatively marked with identity marking water or a UV pen.

If you witness suspicious activity around vehicles, call the police on 101 or on 999 if a crime is in progress.