Please consider the crime prevention advice below to make sure that your car is secure against thieves.
Theft of a car and theft of items from a car are the most common auto crime offences.
Don’t leave items on display
- If a car park attendant, street warden or police community support officer (PCSO) sees a vehicle in a public place with items on display, they may send a letter and advice leaflet to the vehicle's owner.
- Always take your personal items with you when you leave your car. This stops car thieves from smashing your windows to steal items. If you can't take your personal items with you, lock them in the boot. Don't leave personal items in your glove box.
- Never leave the following items anywhere in your car: removable radio fronts, portable satellite navigation systems ('Sat Navs') and its mounting cable, mobile phones, golf clubs, iPods, handbags, laptop computers and briefcases, cheque, credit and debit cards, items of clothing, driving documents and personal correspondence.
- When you leave your car, leave your glove box open to show that there's nothing in there.
Look after your keys
- Keep your car keys safe. Do not leave them inside your car or in the ignition. This prevents your vehicle from being stolen.
- Don't leave your keys in a coat pocket. Changing rooms are often targeted by thieves who aim to steal car keys that are left in coat pockets.
- Make sure that your keys are not visible to other people. If your keys are in your bag, zip it up securely.
How to park and store your car safely
- Always make sure that your car is totally locked - this includes all doors and windows, and the sun roof. This applies when your car is parked on your driveway, in your garage, or if you leave your car for just a few seconds.
- Store your car in your garage - it is safer there. Remember to lock the garage and the car.
- If you don't have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place.
- If you park on the street, put your car aerial down and fold in the wing mirrors. This reduces the chances of criminal damage to your car.
- When using a car park, park in one that is well-supervised - one with entry and exit points, good lighting and security. Avoid parking in dark spots.
- Visit the Safer Parking website (opens new window) to find police-approved car parks near to you. Look out for the ParkMark brand which shows which car parks are part of the police-approved Safer Parking scheme.
Ask your insurance company for advice on installing security devices. Your insurance company may offer you a discount on certain approved security products. Some insurance companies may refuse to insure certain car makes and models unless a particular security device is installed.
You should only buy security devices that are approved by either:
- Thatcham (Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre) (opens new window) - 0870 550 2006.
- Sold Secure (opens new window) - 01327 264 687.
All security devices should be fitted by a professional - your car dealer or an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.
Security devices can include:
- Electronic engine immobiliser.
- Alarm system.
- Central locking and automatic locking.
- Double-locking doors.
- Steering wheel lock.
- Tracking devices.
Use forensic and security marking to mark your car equipment, such as your car stereo, with your car registration number, or your postcode.
Ask a reliable local garage to etch your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) on to all of the car's glass surfaces, including the side windows and headlamps. This marking can deter a thief from stealing your car. The VIN is a unique 17-digit number which identifies your car from every other car on the road.