Drivers are being advised to make sure their cars and vans are secure following an increase in thefts of and from vehicles in the county.
Thefts of vehicles have increased by nearly 22 per cent this year and thefts from vehicles have also increased by more than eight per cent this year, compared to the same period last year. *
Most of the items stolen were left in vehicles whilst they were unattended, or thefts of catalytic converters, which are still being targeted for the precious metals they contain.
Detective Superintendent Nev Hanks, said: “Many of the thefts reported occurred when the vehicles were left unlocked, so leaving valuable items on display in a vehicle will encourage opportunistic thieves to check if a vehicle is secure. Removing any items which may encourage a thief, such as bags, boxes, coats or loose change is an easy way to make your vehicle safer. 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.
Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running, even if you are defrosting your windows.
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.