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Theft from unoccupied motor vehicles

Alert message sent 17/07/2019 11:11:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

With the exception of specialist theft of car parts such as catalytic converters, most theft from motor vehicles is opportunistic. This often involves forced entry to vehicles but it is surprising just how many cars are left unlocked. This might be as a result of forgetfulness or incorrect use of key fobs.

You can reduce the risks by following some simple advice:

• Make sure you have locked your vehicle and your windows are closed too, even for short stops.
• Use your garage or park in well-lit, well-populated and overlooked areas.

• Use car parks that have parking attendants and ones with Park Mark accreditation. These car parks are designed to be safe environments and are approved by the police.

• Remove your valuables. Even bags, jackets, cases and toys have a value to thief. A jacket could contain cash or cigarettes that may encourage them. Lock them away in your boot but only if you cannot access the boot from the rear seats and you cannot unlock the boot from a switch in the cabin.

• Remove loose change from view. Its presence may tip the scales in any decision on whether to attempt to break in.

• Remove electronics such as sat-navs. You should also remove any holders or chargers and wipe clear suction cup marks. Any evidence could encourage a thief to look further. Consider buying another means of holding your device such as a weighted mat holder.

• If you have expensive in-car entertainment, consider a better alarm. Most car alarms rely on the doors of the vehicle being opened. If you have expensive aftermarket systems or a security cubby, consider fitting a Thatcham approved alarm that also detects entry into the cabin of your vehicle.

• Register expensive in-car entertainment systems with See our pages on property registration and marking. If you have your equipment marked, advertise the fact using warning stickers.

• Keep your vehicle tidy. Clutter in the foot wells could make a thief feel it’s worth a look whilst envelopes left on seats could contain something worth stealing.

• Keep your glove box and centre console cubby tidy and open. If you have nothing inside that's worth stealing, show that this is the case.

• Keep ID badges on your person. Criminals know that they may be with electronic passes to buildings. They may also be attractive to fraudsters.

Report it

If you have been a victim of theft from your vehicle and are in immediate danger, call 999 as soon as you can.

If you have discovered that your vehicle has been broken into, or that parts have been stolen, call us on 101 or report online at
Message sent by
Ian Stacey (Police, Neighbourhood Policing Administrator, Chiltern & South Bucks)

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