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Vehicle Crime Prevention

Any valuable possessions you leave in your car are at risk from being stolen.

Never give a thief an opportunity to break in and steal your belongings - they will take it.

As well as car stereos other items frequently stolen from cars include satellite navigation (Sat Nav) systems, lap top computers, handbags and mobile phones. However most thieves will literally be tempted by whatever they see and take anything from CDs to sunglasses.

The simple advice is remove anything from your car that might tempt an opportunist thief or securely lock them in the boot. Don't leave valuables in the glove compartment or under the seat - thieves will look there. Wipe off any suction marks on the dashboard/windscreen and remove cradles - these give an indication there is property worth stealing.

Many in-car entertainment systems have removable faces on the stereo. If yours has this feature make sure you use it. Remove the face and take it with you, even if you're leaving the car for just a short time. If your stereo has a built-in security code make a note of it, along with any serial numbers, and keep it in a safe place away from the car.

Security mark all items liable to be stolen (seek advice on how to do this from your local Crime Prevention Officer if required).

Last but not least - don't forget to close windows, sunroofs and lock doors and NEVER leave children or pets alone in your vehicle.

Keep your car keys safe

Never leave your keys in your car, even for a second. This is especially important when you're loading or unloading your car or at petrol stations. A thief will take any opportunity.

Make sure your keys are kept in a secure place at home, work or even down the gym! Burglars have been known to break in to houses and offices just to steal car keys. At home don't be in the habit of leaving car keys close to the front door where they can be seen - this might make life easier for you, but it's also very handy for a car thief.

Think about where you park

Where and how you park your car can be important for your own security, and that of your car.

At home use your garage if you have one. If you don't have a garage leave your car on the driveway or nearby (ideally in a well lit area where it can easily be seen).

If you're parking away from home the British Parking Association (BPA) gives car parks across the UK an award if they achieve a police standard of safety and security. Look out for the ParkMark™ logo, which indicates that a car park has met the required standard. In order to locate your nearest ParkMark™ accredited site go to

If you can't find an accredited car park then try and find one that's well supervised with restricted entry and exit points and CCTV cameras. If possible reverse in to the parking space so that you can get away quickly in an emergency and ideally choose a place that's close to the exit and away from pillars. If you can't find any car park then park somewhere that's busy and well lit.

If a car park is not an option then park your vehicle in a well lit street that is overlooked by residents properties – an overlooked street is less likely to be targeted.

Car Security Devices

Many car security devices are fitted as standard and there are also plenty of options, such as steering wheel locks, available from shops and garages. Alarms are a highly effective deterrent to both car theft and theft from your vehicle and even basic devices such as wheel locks can make a big difference. Car thieves will always go for the easiest option.

More recently there has been an increase in the theft of vehicle registration plates by criminals engaged in activities such as the evasion of speeding fines, parking tickets and payment for petrol. To combat this central government have been working with number plate manufacturers to produce special theft resistant plates which should be available from autumn 2006. Existing plates can also be made more secure by attaching them with clutch head screws.

One of the biggest advancements in car security in recent years has been the emergence of the vehicle tracking system. These systems use radio or satellite positioning to locate a car after it's been stolen and are becoming increasingly popular.

For more information, please contact PCSO Julie West on 0845 60 70 999 ext 63226 or PCSO Dennis Dowle on 0845 60 70 999 ext 21893.

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