Drivers Fact Sheets

Car Security

Vehicle crime has been falling steadily since its peak in the early 1990’s and the cases reported to the police have fallen dramatically. However, there are still nearly 1.5 million vehicle related thefts (theft of, theft from and attempted theft) every year but there are some new types of vehicle crime that are bucking this downward tend.

Key Theft

It’s almost impossible to steal a modern car without first obtaining the keys so it might not be too much of a surprise that car thieves are using home burglaries to steal vehicles using keys stolen from the home. Moreover, the higher value cars such as Audi, Mercedes and BMW are being taken. These thieves are increasingly using determination, patience and ingenuity in targeting these up-market cars, even though the total number of cars stolen is falling.

Number Plate Theft

If your number plates are stolen contact the Police immediately. It may seem trivial at the time but if the plates are used to change the identity of another car you can expect to start receiving penalty charges for parking, speeding, congestion charging and so on. You may even be suspected of committing crimes yourself.

Satellite Navigation Theft

If you use portable satellite navigation equipment, take it with you whenever you leave the car. Remove the cradle and suction pads and clean any marks left on the windscreen or dashboard too as thieves are known to look for these telltale signs and break in anyway, expecting to find the Sat Nav tucked away in the glove compartment.

Catalytic Converter Theft

In the last few years, the credit crunch and high market value of platinum combined to create a new type of vehicle crime – theft of catalytic converters to recover the parts and precious metals they contain. With money still tight and platinum prices rising again, catalytic converter theft is still a possibility. Taller vehicles (4x4s) are particularly vulnerable as the converters are more accessible and, because they tend to have larger engines, they contain more of the precious metals too.

Car Buying Scams

The Metropolitan Police have recently highlighted the ‘virtual vehicle’ scam which involves fake shipping websites that promise to handle and look after your money. Once you respond and express interest in buying the car being advertised which is currently located abroad, you are directed to a fake website for a shipping company that will handle the transfer of funds including shipping costs.

Remembering The Basics

Any valuables, such as mobile phones, Satellite Navigation Systems, briefcases or cd players are at risk even if we do take the time to lock the doors. We are living in different times now, think about security all of the time.

Prevention

  1. Always lock the car doors, even if you are just leaving the car for the minute, thieves are opportunistic.
  2. Don’t leave any valuables on display, even better, don’t leave valuables in the car.
  3. Advertise a security system. Even if you don’t actually have one, using a window sticker to advertise the “car alarm” can work a charm.
  4. Park in a public well-lit area if possible.
  5. Consider a Car Wheel Lock

Making It Difficult For The Thief

  1. Use a number plate lock to stop your number-plates being vulnerable.
  2. Use a steering lock to make driving the car away as difficult as possible.
  3. If you live in a really bad area, consider a wheel clamp, as this is a real deterrent (and makes it impossible to drive off).
  4. Use locking wheel nuts for your alloy wheels
  5. You can even burglar proof your windows with a clear, unbreakable polycarbonate panel secured behind the glass on the inside.

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