Crime Prevention Message

Police Officers in South Northants are warning the public to remain vigilant after a recent spate of theft from motor vehicles. Read our advice about how to protect your vehicle below:

• Before you get out of your vehicle, check nothing's left out on seats, the dash, console, door pockets or in footwells. Even clothing or loose change can be enough for a thief to risk breaking in. If you can't remove items, lock them in the boot or a vehicle safe.

• Close all windows and sunroofs, and wipe away suction marks left by sat nav or phone holders as these may tempt thieves to break in to see if the device is still in the car. Put phone charging leads away for the same reason.

• If your car has remote locking, always physically check the doors have locked before you leave it. Criminals nearby can use a jamming device to block the remote signal, leaving the car unlocked so they can get in once you have left.

• Never leave your engine running when you leave your vehicle, even if you'll only be gone a minute. Cars are commonly stolen at supermarkets, petrol stations, fast food outlets, or when left running on driveways to warm up on cold mornings.

• Don't leave important documents such as bank statements, credit card bills, statements or other personal information in your vehicle. Thieves can use this information to steal your identity and access your bank and credit card accounts.

• Don't leave your driving licence or registration documents in your vehicle. These could help a thief sell or dispose of it.

• Consider having the vehicle identification number (VIN) etched onto windows to make your vehicle less attractive to thieves. VIN etching also makes vehicles easier to trace and recover if they are stolen

Key Security

• Never leave your keys in the vehicle, even for a second, or hide a second set of keys in your car. Extra keys can easily be found by an experienced thief.

• At home, keep all keys out of sight and reach of letterboxes, pet flaps and downstairs doors and windows, so thieves can't use a wire or grasp hook to reach them in order to steal your vehicle.

Parking Safety

• Where you park matters – most car crime occurs on the street. If you park in daylight and will be leaving your car until evening or overnight, consider how the area may look in the dark – aim to park somewhere which will be well-lit and busy.

• Out and about, avoid parking in unattended areas or car parks with a history of thefts or break-ins. Try to use car parks with Park Mark status, which means they meet police-approved security standards - www.parkmark.co.uk

• Parking with your wheels turned towards the kerb makes your car tough to tow away - if you're parked in a narrow street just make sure the outside wheel edge isn't sticking out so as to restrict access. Wheels should also be turned to the side in car parks and driveways.

• If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, back onto your driveway. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front-end first. On four-wheel drive vehicles, the rear wheels sometimes lock, making your car difficult to tow away.

• Always use your handbrake when parking. Leave automatic transmissions in park, and manual transmissions in gear. As well as ensuring safety, it makes your car much harder to tow away.

• If you have a garage, use it. Nearly 50% of all car crime occurs right outside the house. By locking the garage and the car doors, the chances of deterring a theft greatly improve.

• If your vehicle doesn't already have one, fit an alarm and immobiliser. This is an effective way of deterring criminals. A Thatcham-compliant immobiliser or steering lock can help secure older vehicles. If you rarely use a vehicle, consider a tyre or wheel lock.

Number Plate Security

• Park your car in a garage at night, or park to prevent access to either front or rear number plate.

• If parking on a public road, park in a well-lit spot.

• Use theft resistant number plates which are designed to break apart if they are forcibly removed.

• Fit tamper-proof security screws, available from high street car accessory stores. These simple anti-theft devices can be easily fitted in place of existing screws but cannot be removed using standard tools.

• If you notice a car with different number plates on the front and the back, or with the number plate missing, call police on the non-emergency number 101.

Posted: Wed, 18 Dec 2019 16:54 by Alison Benson

Tags: Police Alerts