Keep your vehicles safe

Tips from Met Police via OWL:

Key messages

General advice

  • Fit theft resistant number plate fittings – stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. Use one way clutch head screws and adhesive to secure the plate.
  • When out and about – try to park your vehicle in a Park Mark approved car park which has an approved security standard, or if not, park in an area that is overlooked and well lit
  • Thieves are using sophisticated methods to steal vehicles with electronic keys – a scanner is used to locate the signal from the key. To prevent this, always keep the electronic key in a security pouch when not in use.
  • Fitting locking wheel nuts will reduce the likelihood of wheels and tyres being stolen.

Cars and vans

  • Leaving items on show is an invitation – power leads, SatNavs and mounts, stereo front panels, coins, sunglasses, tools, clothing and bags should be removed from the vehicle or placed out of sight.
  • Keys and ignition fobs should kept safe and out of sight and reach – the most common ways to steal a car or van is to take the keys or ignition fob, either when left in the vehicle or from your home through burglary. Try not to keep your keys in an obvious place such as the hallway or kitchen.
  • Always lock and close the windows of your vehicle when unattended – on the drive, the petrol station forecourt or when parking an unlocked vehicle is the easiest to steal or steal from.
  • Fit an alarm or immobiliser if your vehicle does not have one.
  • Set the steering wheel lock if your vehicle is fitted with one. If not, use a bar type steering lock each time you leave your vehicle.
  • Also consider using a gear stick lock.

Motorcycles and mopeds

  • Keep your motorcycle or moped in a garage, shed or designated bike store at home – storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft. Consider fitting a garage or shed alarm.
  • Fit an alarm, immobiliser, preferably with tracking capability and property mark any panels – alarms act as a deterrent. Tracking devices and property marking assist in recovery should your motorcycle or moped be stolen.
  • Lock the rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor and use a disk lock on the front wheel – making the vehicle less of any easy option will reduce the chances of it being targeted. Combine the use of a disk lock on the front wheel and a chain lock to a ground anchor.
  • Don’t rely on the steering lock – standard steering locks are easily defeated and your bike can always be lifted into a van if not secured.
  • Use a bike cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what moped or motorcycle it is they are less likely to target it.

Caravans and trailers

  • Fit physical security and a caravan cover – fit a combination of hitch lock anti-theft device, wheel clamp and ground anchor, a physical barrier to theft is always a clear deterrent. Using a caravan cover and installing an alarm makes any theft more difficult and your caravan less attractive to thieves.
  • Register, record and property mark all parts of the caravan or trailer – register your caravan or trailer with the Central Registration & Identification Scheme (CRIS) and use overt and covert chips to mark it. If stolen, it may have its number plates, chassis, frame or CRIS numbers removed. Take photos, including specific fittings, marks or damage as these can help to identify your caravan or trailer.
  • Install an alarm and tracking system, including roof marking – if stolen, being able to track and identify your caravan or trailer is vital. Add clear roof markings, giving the year of manufacture and CRIS number, to assist police identifying your caravan. (2014 – CRIS SGBS000BYA1234567).

Goods vehicles and lorries

  • Lock it, remove it, alarm it – when leaving your vehicle unattended, first remove valuable items and cash from view, lock it and take the keys with you or leave in a secure drawer or office at work. Overnight, remove tools from vans or if parking up with an empty trailer, leave the doors open. Always set the vehicle alarm and keep fuel tanks locked.
  • Plan journeys, have an itinerary, no hitch hikers – have a route planned, including lay-overs, so someone else knows where you are due to be. Where possible use safe lorry parks or park where visible to passing traffic. Avoid insecure locations like remote laybys and quiet industrial estates. Do not pick up strangers as you have no idea what their intentions are.
  • Lock your vehicle and check it – even when on the move, making deliveries or refuelling, keep you vehicle locked and the keys with you. Before you start off again, visually inspect your vehicle, has anything changed, if so why.