Most vehicle crime is opportunistic and therefore preventable. Since 1997, vehicle crime has fallen dramatically, but more than a million vehicles are still broken into, damaged or stolen every year. By following some straightforward advice, and working together, we can ensure that this type of crime keeps falling.
Secure Your Motor
Make sure you lock all windows and doors when leaving your vehicle unattended - even if it's only for a short amount of time.
Keep it Hidden
If a car park attendant, street warden or Police Community Support Officer sees a car in a public place with anything left on view, the vehicle's owner is sent a letter and leaflet offering advice on how to outsmart the criminal.
Never leave anything on view in your car. If you have to leave an item in your car lock it in the boot where it is out of sight.
Letting You Know
Keep in touch with voluntary and community groups such as your local Neighbourhood Watch to find out the latest car crime prevention advice. We will keep them informed of the most up to date information available on the internet to help them relay car crime prevention messages in their neighbourhoods.
The Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001
The Act introduced the registration of motor salvage dealers and number plate suppliers, together with the Vehicle Identity Check scheme. These measures will make it harder for thieves to sell on stolen vehicles.
Follow our vehicle safety information, and make sure you don't become a statistic.
Some of the advice may sound obvious, but it could make all the difference if you follow it consistently.
Read our top ten tips to find out more.
- Don't leave items on display Never leave anything on display when you leave your vehicle. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.
- Use immobilisers Electronic engine immobilisers prevent your vehicle from starting and are the best way to stop thieves. You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either Thatcham (Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre 0870 550 2006, Thatcham) or by Sold Secure (01327 264 687). They should be professionally fitted - either by your car dealer or by an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.
- Park safely When parking at home, always use your garage if you have one, and lock both your vehicle and your garage. If you don't have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place.
- Use Park Mark® car parks When parking outside, always try and park your car in an attended car park. Try to look for a public car park which is part of the police approved Safer Parking scheme and displays the Park Mark® brand.
- Buy a steering wheel lock Use a steering wheel lock every time you leave your vehicle.
- Get an alarm fitted Alarms can deter thieves not only from stealing your vehicle, but also from taking items from it. You can get more information about alarms, immobilisers and other security devices by phoning the Vehicle Security National Helpline on 0870 5502006 or the Sold Secure Helpline on 01327 264687.
- Secure your wheels Locking wheel nuts are cheap, easy to fit and stop thieves from taking your wheels.
- Etch your vehicle identification number onto surfaces Have your vehicle registration number or the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps.
- Mark your equipment Mark all your equipment, like your car stereo, with your vehicle registration number.
- Check before buying a used vehicle Before buying, check whether the car you are interested in has been reported stolen, seriously damaged or is still subject to finance. More information on how to check can be found on the Directgov website.
It is up to you to make sure the vehicle you want isn't stolen, if you do end up buying a stolen vehicle you could:
- Lose all your money
- Lose the vehicle
- Inherit whatever problems the vehicle had (unpaid tickets, penalties etc)
- Risk police interest in your actions.
So don't take the chance, check it out first. If you have any suspicions, notify the police on 101.