We’ve recently become aware that unfortunately there seems to be a growing number of instances of car crime in the local area. This can take several forms –
Car break-ins –
It goes without saying but it’s important to always ensure that you lock your car when parked. Also, it’s good practice to ensure that you don’t leave any valuables on show. As a rule of thumb, it’s best not to leave any personal items visible in your car when unattended. Although there may be things that you wouldn’t consider to be of much value, anything on show can be tempting for an opportunist thief and encourage them to break in to investigate further. Also, if you have a screen-mounted navigation device or a dash cam that can be removed it’s a good idea to lock these away when parked if it’s possible to do so.
Catalytic converter thefts –
There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts on the local area recently. It seems that thieves are becoming more and more brazen and there have even been instances of thefts in broad daylight.
Usually operating in groups, they will jack up a car and cut out the converters from the exhaust system using hand-held electric saws. These thieves are usually armed in some way, so if you witness a theft happening it would be best not to approach them and instead contact the Police.
If you are unlucky enough to be a victim of this type of crime, usually your insurance company will cover the cost of replacement although it may have an adverse effect on your insurance premiums in the future. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to protect your vehicle from this type of theft, currently the only possible solution is to fit a cage over your catalytic converter, which will usually deter the thieves, this in itself though is also quite an expensive option.
Lately, the types of vehicles that seem to be most sought after are hybrids, such as Toyota Prius or C-HR, and up-market vehicles such as Mercedes or BMW, which tend to have more expensive parts and so more precious metal content inside the converters. Please be assured though that although on the up, this type of crime is still relatively rare in our area.
Car theft –
Again this is still quite rare in our area, however, there have been several cases recently of car theft. The most common local areas where car theft has been reported are Maida Hill, Hamilton Terrace, Lauderdale Road and Elgin Avenue and the most commonly targeted vehicles tend to be Range Rovers.
There are several things that you can do to make your vehicle less attractive to thieves. The first and simplest thing is to fit a steering lock, such as Stop Lock Pro, when your vehicle is parked. This creates an extra ‘barrier’ to the thief and can be very effective in deterring them. These cost around £50 and are widely available online.
The next simplest thing to do is to store your car keys somewhere safe when you’re at home. These days, car keys often omit a continuous signal and thieves are known to use signal scanners to pick up the key’s code so that they can clone a new key and use it to access your vehicle. There are several products on the market, such as ‘faraday cages’ and ‘metal wallets’ that will prevent your key’s signal from being able to be intercepted and cloned. These are relatively inexpensive and widely available online.
Further to this, you could fit an immobiliser, which would cost in the region of £300-£400, depending on the brand and cost of fitting. An immobiliser will prevent your vehicle from being started and driven away, even is the thief is able to clone a new key. Lastly, fitting a vehicle tracker can be useful in tracking your car down and getting it back should it be stolen.
Please be assured that car theft in our area is still relatively rare and the chances of you falling victim to this are still quite small. That being said, there is certainly no harm in taking preventative steps to maximise your vehicle’s security. As always, the best way to determine which forms of security are best for you is to do your own research online. There is a wealth of information available which will help you to make the best informed decisions.
Locally, there is another resource available, which is the community website Nextdoor. Along with a variety of local news and happenings, people will often post when they have been victims of crime such as car theft so that you can monitor recent trends and also get some useful advice. It’s easy to sign up and get notifications direct to your inbox.