Drivers are being advised to make sure their cars and vans are secure following an increase in thefts of and from vehicles in the county.
Thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles have increased by more than 12 per cent this year compared to the same period last year.*
Most of the items stolen had been left in vehicles whilst they were unattended, or were thefts of catalytic converters, which are still being targeted for the precious metals they contain.
Crime Prevention Officer, Darren Cowell, said: ‘Many reported thefts from vehicles occur when they are left unlocked, so leaving valuable items on display in a vehicle is a sure way to encourage opportunistic thieves to check the door handles. Removing any items such as bags, boxes, coats or loose change is an easy way to make your vehicle safer. I would also urge the public to follow our advice, remain vigilant and report suspicious incidents in their neighbourhood, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.’
To minimise the chance of becoming a victim we offer the following advice:
- Lock your car whenever it is left unattended and keep it in a garage when parked at night if possible.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running, even if you are only absent for a moment.
- When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make catalytic converter theft difficult.
- Consider fitting CCTV covering your home and driveway, to help deter thieves.
- Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.
- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
- Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
- Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
- Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security.
- Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don’t want to alert you to their approach.
- Never leave valuable items or tools on display in your vehicle as this may encourage a thief to break in.
For more crime prevention advice, please visit www.herts.police.uk/protectyourvehicle .
You can report information about crime online via www.herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via online web chat at www.herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people in your local area, sign up to Online Watch Link (OWL) at www.owl.co.uk/herts or download the ‘OWL crime alerts’ app from your app store.
*Thefts of vehicles – Dacorum (+155 per cent) and Stevenage (+150 per cent) and Three Rivers (+116 per cent) experienced the largest increases.
*Thefts from vehicles – Dacorum (+56 per cent) and Welwyn Hatfield (+45 per cent) and Broxbourne (+21 percent) have suffered a higher rise in the number of offences.