Drivers are being advised to follow crime prevention advice to make their cars and vans more secure as thieves continue to target keyless entry vehicles, as well as any valuables left inside and catalytic converters.
Thefts of vehicles have increased by more than 18 per cent this year, compared to same period last year. Thefts of items from vehicles within is slightly lower than last year, however, certain parts of the county such as Dacorum and Watford have seen increases.
Inspector Nicola Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “There’s been an increase in vehicle thefts this year. Keyless entry vehicles are being targeted by criminals using signal jacking devices, which pick up the fob signal and use it to unlock and start vehicles. Using a signal blocking fob pouch or storing your fob in a metal box will help prevent theft of keyless vehicles.
“Thieves also continue to target catalytic converters on specific car models such as the pre 2008 Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius (2004 to 2016 inclusive) and Toyota Arius (2012 to 2018 inclusive). We are still offering our free catalytic converter security marking service, which is available at garages across the county.
“Leaving valuable items on display in a vehicle will attract the attention of opportunistic thieves, so please remove any items which may encourage a thief, such as bags, boxes, coats or loose change. I would also urge the public to follow our advice, remain vigilant and report suspicious incidents in their neighbourhood, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.”
To minimise the chance of becoming a victim we offer the following advice:
Lock your car whenever it is left unattended and keep it in a garage when parked at night if possible.
When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft difficult.
Consider fitting CCTV on your home or driveway, to help deter thieves.
Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.
If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security. If you have a garage at home, ensure you use it and lock it properly.
Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don't want to alert you to their approach.
Never leave valuable items or tools on display in your vehicle as this may encourage a thief to break in.
How to protect your keyless entry car:
When at home keep your car key (and the spare) well away from the car.
Put the keys in a screened or signal-blocking pouch, such as a Faraday Bag.
Reprogramme your keys if you buy a second hand car.
Turn off wireless signals on your fob when it's not being used.
Use a steering wheel lock as an extra security measure.
To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people in your local area, sign up to Online Watch Link (opens in new window) or download the ‘OWL crime alerts’ app from your app store.