West Midlands Police has seen an increase in the sophistication of vehicle crime offences. As manufactures and police work together through organisations like the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, criminals have had to respond to the improved security offered with more and more technology-based methods of stealing cars and their contents.
It’s important for all car owners to recognise these technological developments, especially for those vehicles that have keyless access or keyless drive, and to help prevent the theft of their property by making it harder for criminals. We are asking owners to:
- Check with your main dealer that - regardless of the age of the vehicle - it has had all its recalls completed and software updated;
- Check with your main dealer what latest security measures can be retrofitted to older vehicles. This can cost less than the excess on your insurance, in the event of a claim;
- To explore what aftermarket security products are available from third parties. Thatcham is a source of tested products;
- Consider using a Thatcham tested and approved steering wheel lock that provides full coverage of the wheel;
- Keep full control of your keys. Valet parking, car washes, and even some garages have been found to copy keys;
- Make sure ‘the fob has done the job’, and that passengers haven’t left a window or door open, even slightly;
- Don’t leave anything visible in the vehicle. Sat Navs, loose change, and bags are all attractive to thieves;
- When parking, always choose a well-lit location with natural or electronic surveillance. Use a car park, whenever possible, which has been awarded the ‘Park Mark’;
- At home, if you have a garage, use it. Apply the same principles as parking away from home (Well lit, natural or electronic surveillance etc.). Consider installing security lights or CCTV to improve the deterrent.
If you would like to discuss any concerns, or seek further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Ask us about our new messaging tool, WM Now, where you can sign up to receive email updates about what’s going on in your area and other important crime prevention advice.
Details of how to do so can be found on our newly re-launched website, where you will find a number of new features, including a ‘what if…’ search, the ability to report low-level crime online, and a ‘track your case’ update system, as well as details of your local neighbourhood team: www.west-midlands.police.uk.
Traditional methods of contacting us are still available, such as calling 101, or coming to see us at police stations open to the public.
Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell
Commander, Birmingham East Neighbourhood Policing Unit