Helping to prevent you from becoming a victim of crime.


Crime Prevention

If a criminal really wants to steal your car or van it is difficult to completely prevent this. What you should do is try and make this as difficult as possible for them to achieve.

If a car theft is difficult, awkward and risky the offender may choose an easier target.

The three main methods used to steal cars are using vehicle keys stolen via a burglary, forcing the ignition without a key and using keys left in the vehicle. These methods are explored in more detail below.

2-in-1 Burglary

A 2-n-1 burglary refers to a house being burgled with the aim of using car keys stolen during the burglary to steal your car.

UK Car theft statistics state this method accounts for 1 in 3 of all vehicles being stolen.

Modern cars have a range of security devices fitted that make them very difficult to steal without the use of a key. Due to this thieves will target homes with the aim of stealing vehicle keys. Try and prevent this by securing your home and by keeping vehicle keys hidden in your home. Don't leave keys hanging next to the door.

Related article:  Ideas to secure my car

Forcing the ignition.

This involves a criminal breaking into a vehicle then breaking the ignition / steering lock to gain access to the switch the ignition barrel turns, or pulling out the wires and connecting them themselves to start the car. This method (known as hot wiring) was once very popular, however due to immobiliser systems the success of this method is now limited.

Keys left in the vehicle - an opportunistic thief

The third most common method of stealing a car involves keys being left inside the vehicle by the vehicle owner. Opportunist thieves can then take advantage of this.

A few common times when you may be tempted to leave your keys in the vehicle include when de-icing the car during winter, while stopping at an ATM machine to 'quickly' get some cash, while getting or paying for fuel or when 'dashing' into a local shop.

Don't take the risk – always remove your keys from the vehicle. More experienced thieves may use a distraction method such as causing a slight accident, this then 'encourages' you to leave the vehicle to check the damage, before thieves enter the vehicle and steal it using the keys you have left in. Always be aware.

Related article:  Ideas to secure my car

1. If you have any crime prevention products use them. Don't leave your car unprotected.

2. Don't leave your car open or the keys in the vehicle no matter how short the time is you're away from your vehicle. An opportunist thief will only need a few seconds to take advantage of an unlocked car.

3. Always shut your doors, windows and sunroof. Leaving these open provides easy access for criminals and your first defence has been breached. Shut and secure these even if you are just leaving the car for a few seconds.

4. Park in a well lit area so any potential offender has the risk of being seen if they attack your car.

5. Ideally choose an area covered by CCTV, this is another deterrent that could impact on a criminals thought process and encourage them to choose a different victim.

6. Choose a busy area, people travelling past your car on a regular basis will make it more likely a criminal will be spotted.

7.  Consider using crime prevention products that may help prevent items such as Sat Navs or SmartPhones being stolen from your vehicle.

Related article:  Ideas to secure my car

1. Secure your keys. New vehicles have a range of anti-theft devices included. Using the keys is sometimes the only way to steal the vehicle. Always ensure your keys are secure. This includes any spare sets in your home.

2. To help avoid towing theft (your car being towed away by a thief) always leave your car in gear and turn the steering wheel to the kerb.

3. Consider fitting an immobiliser to your car, such as the Cobra A8510 Thatcham Category 2 Immobiliser  if there isn't one fitted as standard.

4. car alarms – although often heard and sometimes ignored – will still provide some deterrent to a criminal. An alarm will draw unwanted attention to the thief.

5. Mark the car by using a product such as SmartWater. The Police look for SmartWater when they recover property. Knowing your vehicle has SmartWater on it could be enough of a deterrent to a criminal.

6. Consider etching a mark into the vehicle such as the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the windows this makes the vehicle less attractive for those looking to strip it for parts.

7. Install and subscribe to a TRACKER system. TRACKER's stolen vehicle recovery products are operated by all 52 UK Police forces. Using TRACKER's unique Very High Frequency (VHF) radio technology, the Police can track the stolen vehicle even if it is being transported in the back of a lorry, hidden in a shipping container or lock up garage. This is unique, unlike TRACKER's competitors' GPS-only systems which rely on being able to see the sky to determine the location of your stolen vehicle.

See anti car theft security products

Related article:  Ideas to secure my car


A 2 in 1 burglary involves a house being burgled and car keys being stolen.  These burglaries are also called 'car key burglaries'.

In recent years cars have improved security devices fitted as standard.  Things like central locking, alarms and immobilisers.  It is now much more difficult to steal a car than it was 20 years ago.

Cars still have a great re-sale value and are prized by criminals, if a car has these security devices fitted how do you steal it?  The answer is sometimes break into a house and steal the car key, then drive away using this key.

Once stolen, vehicles can be tracked even if they are underground or in a container by products such as TRACKER Locate, TRACKER Monitor or if you have a classic car TRACKER Retrieve, however your home will still have been
broken into and this is not a pleasant experience.

What car keys and cars do burglars look to steal?

Read more: Do you know what a 2 in 1 burglary is?

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