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Advice guide - Protecting your vehicle

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Crime prevention advice to help avoid you becoming a victim of vehicle crime.

Car security

Crimes against vehicles, including the theft of and theft of items from them, is reducing locally and nationally. But it is important your vehicle is not an easy target for criminals. Most vehicle crime can be prevented.

Follow the advice in this section to help secure your vehicle.

Car security at home

  • Where possible ensure that your vehicle is parked on your driveway or in your garage if you have one. Alternatively, ensure your vehicle is parked in a well lit area.
  • Have an alarm and immobiliser fitted if your vehicle doesn’t already have one. This is an effective way of deterring criminals. A Thatcham-compliant immobiliser or steering lock can help secure older vehicles.
  • Locking wheel nuts are cheap and easy to fit to prevent your alloy wheels being stolen.
  • Catalytic converters can be marked using a specialist metal security marking chemical and secure labels to warn potential thieves that the catalytic converter carries an identification mark.

Key security

  • Keep your car keys safe and out of sight at home. Ensure they are not left near unlocked doors or open windows in your home to ensure they are not easily available to opportunist thieves.
  • Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even for a second. This includes at fuel stations and when de-icing your vehicle.
  • The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) approved locksmiths can help with vehicle keys and locks if they are lost or stolen.

Car key security

Keyless Entry Vehicles security

Thieves are targeting vehicles which have keyless entry systems using digital scanners allowing the car to be unlocked without a trace of forced entry or damage.

Regular remote locking fobs which require the car owner to press a button are not vulnerable to these crimes, it is only those cars which allow the owner to approach and unlock the car with the keys still in their pocket.

Advice for drivers with concerns about car security:

  1. Understand the digital functions of your car: do you have a keyless entry system? If so, can the fob be switched off overnight? Speak to your dealer about software updates and whether new key fobs with added security are available.
  2. Store keys away from household entry points: a keyless fob should be stored as far into your home as is possible, hampering a criminal’s ability to detect and relay its signal.
  3. Signal blocking pouches (Faraday pouches) will block the signal from a keyless entry fob. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify the signal. Don’t forget about your spare key! Make sure you test your signal blocking pouch or choose one that has the Secured by Design accreditation.

Carmakers are already introducing keys with motion sensors which deactivate when stored, and new secure signal transmission technologies. While these counter-measures come into the market, concerned drivers should contact their dealer to discuss the digital functionality of their cars.

To further secure your vehicle consider the following:

Add a device to physically immobilise the car like a Thatcham approved wheel clamp or a steering wheel lock. Any physical device like this will act as a very visible deterrent and given the additional time and effort that will be needed to overcome these devices will make would thieves think twice about targeting your vehicle. These devices are relatively inexpensive.

Once the criminals have managed to programme their own key then all of the vehicle’s in built security is down. You may therefore wish to install an additional, aftermarket Thatcham approved alarm or electronic immobiliser which can scare away the criminals or prevent them from driving the car away even if they have the key. To ensure the reliability of the installation always use a Thatcham Recognised Installer.

You may also consider a Thatcham Category 5 or Category 6 vehicle tracking and recovery system. Whilst it may not prevent the initial theft, with an average recovery time of 2 hours it will certainly ensure you get your vehicle back as quickly as possible. Other Tracking systems to lower Category standards can also be effective at aiding vehicle recovery.

Parking your vehicle

  • Think before you park, particularly when it is dark or if you are leaving your vehicle for a long time. If possible, park in a busy well-lit area. Avoid parking in secluded spots which could put both you and your car at risk.
  • If you are parking in a public car park, use one that has achieved the Park Mark Safer Parking Award. This is an initiative aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities. The award is granted to parking areas that have achieved the requirements of a risk assessment as conducted by the Police. Visit the Park Mark website for more information.

For further and more detailed advice please refer to our Securing Your Vehicle guide.

Motorbike and scooter security

More motorbikes and scooters are stolen than cars, and unfortunately fewer are recovered. However, theft doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of owning a motorbike or scooter. Vehicle crime is often opportunist, but you can outsmart most criminals by taking simple steps to secure your motorbike or scooter.

Securing your motorbike or scooter

  • If your motorbike or scooter doesn’t already have one, consider having a Thatcham or Sold Secure approved electronic immobiliser professionally fitted. Ask your insurance company which devices they would recommend that will not invalidate your policy.
  • If you have a security device fitted, always use it. A wide variety of locks can be used, such as chains or padlocks, disc locks and D locks. The most important thing to remember is to secure your motorbike to a solid object that can’t be moved.
  • Always put your steering lock on.
  • When you are not using your motorbike or scooter, put it in your garage or a secure outbuilding with a fixed or ground anchor to secure it to inside the building. Don’t leave your garage open and make sure your vehicle is covered up, even when you are at home.

Security tips when riding your motorbike or scooter

  • When riding, keep your valuables hidden to prevent them from being snatched.
  • If you stick to a daily routine, try to vary where you park. Plan ahead and think about where you are going to park. Try and find out where Park Mark car parks are if you are travelling to an unfamiliar place.
  • Let a friend or relative know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.

For further and more detailed advice please refer to our motorbike and scooter security guide.

Contact information

To speak to our Crime Prevention Unit about protecting your property and reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime, email crime.prevention@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk

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