Vehicle crime prevention

Alert message sent 30/04/2022 13:00:00

Information sent on behalf of Staffordshire Police


1. Always lock it

Fuelling up or returning to your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. Get into the habit of locking your vehicle, even if you're only going to be away from it for a moment. If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, make sure you lock it properly. Criminal gangs are looking for vehicles like these where the wing mirrors are still out because it is clear to them that the vehicle has been left unlocked.

2. Close windows and the sun roof to prevent "fishing"

Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites "fishing" for items through the gap by hand or with things like a bent coat hanger. Don't give thieves the opportunity.

3. Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws

The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle's number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.

4. Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels

Stolen wheels are valuable, either as parts or for their scrap value. Using locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of your vehicle's wheels being stolen.

5. Secure anything that's on the outside of your vehicle

Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don't leave things in them if you can avoid it.

6. Take it with you or hide it

Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are desirable to the opportunist thief. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what's stolen. It should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle.

7. Hide electrical items and leave no clues

Leaving sat-nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a sat-nav, smartphone or other device in your car.

8. Tool theft from vans

Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it's a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on. Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools. Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. Visit "Secured by Design" for more details. You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.

9. Park in well-lit and busier areas

It can take less than 30 seconds to break into a vehicle. Parking in a well-lit area or busy street increases the chances of a thief being seen, so they'll probably steer clear.

10. Take your documents with you

Having a vehicle's registration and insurance documents could let a thief pretend to be the owner. Which means they could sell it on quite easily. Never leave any documents in the vehicle.
Message sent by
Victoria Lacey (Staffordshire Police, PCSO, Stoke South)

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