Crime and victims
Keep your vehicle safe
Since 1997, vehicle crime has fallen dramatically, but more than a million vehicles are still broken into, damaged or stolen every year. There's a lot you can do to ensure that your car isn't one of them.
Some of the advice may sound obvious, but it could make all the difference if you follow it consistently. Read our top ten tips to find out more.
1. Don't leave items on display
Never leave anything on display when you leave your vehicle. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.
2. Use immobilisers
Electronic engine immobilisers prevent your vehicle from starting and are the best way to stop thieves. You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either Thatcham (the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre 0870 550 2006, Thatcham) or by Sold Secure (new window) (01327 264 687).
They should be professionally fitted - either by your car dealer or by an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.
3. Park safely
When parking at home, always use your garage if you have one, and lock both your vehicle and your garage. If you don't have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place.
4. Use Park Mark® car parks
When parking outside, always try and park your car in an attended car park. Try to look for a public car park which is part of the police approved Safer Parking scheme (new window) and displays the Park Mark® brand.
5. Buy a steering wheel lock
Use a steering wheel lock every time you leave your vehicle.
6. Get an alarm fitted
Alarms can deter thieves not only from stealing your vehicle, but also from taking items from it. You can get more information about alarms, immobilisers and other security devices by phoning the Vehicle Security National Helpline on 0870 5502006 or the Sold Secure Helpline on 01327 264687.
7. Secure your wheels
Locking wheel nuts are cheap, easy to fit and stop thieves from taking your wheels.
8. Etch your vehicle identification number onto surfaces
Have your vehicle registration number or the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps.
9. Mark your equipment
Mark all your equipment, like your car stereo, with your vehicle registration number.
10. Check before buying a used vehicle
Before buying, check whether the car you are interested in has been reported stolen, seriously damaged or is still subject to finance. More information on how to check (new window) can be found on the Directgov website.
It is up to you to make sure the vehicle you want isn't stolen, if you do end up buying a stolen vehicle you could:
lose all your money
lose the vehicle
inherit whatever problems the vehicle had (unpaid tickets, penalties etc).
risk police interest in your actions
So don't take the chance, check it out first!
If you have any suspicions, notify the police immediately.