Tunbridge Wells is a low crime area, but it’s important to be aware of vehicle crime and make sure you keep your car and belongings secure.
Most thefts from motor vehicles are crimes of opportunity. Three quarters happen in the evening or during the night when cars are parked near or outside the home. Every month, the facts behind the figures show a high proportion of vehicle crimes have a common issue:
your bag/phone/coat/Satnav left in view
Mobile phones, satellite navigation systems, clothing, kids’ toys, laptops and other electronic gadgets have all been seen, stolen and most likely sold by an opportunistic thief for a fraction of their value. An old coat, valueless to you, may look like pockets full of change to a drug addict.
There really is no better advice than this: don’t leave anything in your car when you leave it parked, especially at night.
“I only left my car for a minute”
It’s not just long-term parking risks that we should be aware of. Whether you’re at a service station, popping into the newsagents or simply warming up your engine on a cold winter day, always secure your car.
Don’t leave your car keys on display, or by your front door and keep them in a safe place at all times.
Modern cars are designed to make theft extremely difficult and it’s estimated that 70% of stolen vehicles are taken using the keys. In many cases these are stolen from the victim’s house. Nearly 20,000 cars in the UK were stolen in this way in 2011.
Here are some more crime prevention tips that can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of vehicle crime:
- When you park your car remove mobile phones, stereos, MP3 adapters, Bluetooth devices and other obvious valuables. Clean the suction marks left by satellite navigation systems.
- Mark valuable items with your postcode and house number, your vehicle registration number or other unique number, using a UV security marker pen. Consider recording valuables with a commercial asset register, such as Immobilise: www.immobilise.com.
- Always close the windows and sunroof, lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car unattended – even if you intend to be gone for just a short while.
- A lockable fuel cap and steering or gear lock are always advisable.
- If you must park on the roadside, where possible park in a busy or well-lit area.
- Don’t be seen hiding things in your car especially if there is a boot release mechanism in the vehicle - placing a handbag in the boot before setting out on a country walk, for instance.
- Security mark and photograph your vehicle. Etch the windows and other areas with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), making it difficult to be sold on
You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either:
www.thatcham.org - 01635 868855
www.soldsecure.com - 01327 264687
Call either of the above numbers for more information about alarms, immobilisers and other security devices. Ensure that any devices are professionally fitted by your car dealer or by an approved installer.
Further information on approved security systems can be found on the Automobile Association (AA) website at: www.theaa.com.
For this information as a PDF leaflet - see below