Most thefts are carried out by opportunist thieves, who choose "easy targets". A few precautions will help reduce your chances of being a victim of car crime.
Did you know that...
- Most vehicle crime is preventable. It can take as little as 10 seconds for a thief to steal something from your car. If at all possible, leave nothing on view.
- NEVER leave valuable items in your car, including sunglasses, the removable radio cover and your Sat Nav. Do you really need all those things you keep in the glove box?
- Wipe away the Sat Nav mark on your windscreen.
- Consider fitting anti-tamper screws to your number plate.
- Never leave your car keys where they can be seen from the front door. Find out more about 2-in-1 burglary
Vehicle common sense
- Close the windows and sunroof; lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car unattended.
- Park with care, particularly at night or if you are leaving the vehicle for a long time. If possible, park in a busy, well-lit area.
- Leave cash, credit cards, chequebook, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car.
- Never leave your keys in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards.
For more detailed information visit the DirectGov website.
Buying a used car - Be prepared!
- Ask to see proof of the seller's identity and address - an official letter or driving licence, for example.
- Make sure the car's VIN matches that on the registration document (V5) - The VIN, formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer and can be found:
- Stamped on the body chassis or frame.
- On a manufacturer's VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors.
- On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen - this is called a visible VIN.
- Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details.
- Buy a car without the registration document (V5) - make sure it has a DVLA watermark and has not been altered in any way.
Check it out
- If in doubt, ask the AA, RAC or another reputable organisation to inspect the car before agreeing to buy.
- You can check the car's history and second-hand status by calling one of the many private companies now providing this service. DirectGov have company contact details on their website.
For more information on buying a vehicle, visit the DirectGov website.
If you have any information on any crime you can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.