To help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of car crime the following advice is provided.
Remove all items from the vehicle
Most criminals are opportunists – they take what they can, when they see it. If a vehicle looks empty, the chances are they may leave it alone.
Don’t make life easy for criminals by leaving any items on display. Either take your property with you when you get out of the vehicle or keep items locked in the boot out of sight. Even things like an old coat, sunglasses or loose change can be a temptation for someone to ‘smash and grab’ – they steal first and think about value later.
If you have a portable Sat Nav or dashcam remove it when not in use and also remove the cradle and wipe off any sucker marks as they are an indicator that the device itself may still be in the car. A criminal will happily smash a window to check!
Leave your empty glove box and centre console open so that it can be seen that there is nothing to steal.
Lock doors and close windows
A vehicle left unlocked or with windows open is an invitation to a thief, so don’t leave your vehicle insecure – even for ‘just a second’ for example while you pay for petrol or use a cash point. It can be enough time for a thief to make off with any possessions left inside.
You should never leave your vehicle with the keys in the ignition. This includes when loading or unloading shopping or leaving the engine running to ‘warm up’ on cold mornings. It literally only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to jump in and steal your vehicle! Leaving the keys in the ignition could also invalidate your insurance.
If you have a garage – use it! Always lock the garage and the vehicle. If you don’t have a garage always try to park in a well lit open place in public view.
If possible use secure car parks displaying the Park MarkTM sign. For details on the Park MarkTM scheme go on line to www.parkmark.co.uk
For further advice and information on securing your vehicle visit the Thames Valley Police web site at www.thamesvalley.police.uk