Lock your car, remove your valuables
‘FIVE seconds is all it takes to steal your valuables from an unlocked car' – that's the message from Lancashire Constabulary as they launch an awareness campaign to encourage motorists to lock up.
In 2012 2,252 unlocked cars were targeted by thieves in Lancashire. This is 25.7 per cent of the 8,748 vehicle crimes reported across the county.
Officers will be speaking to car owners to highlight the consequences of not locking their vehicles and postcards are being distributed to residents to remind them to lock up.
Chief Insp Steve Sansbury said: “It is alarming that so many people leave their car unlocked.
“Unlocked cars are easy targets for car criminals. If a passing thief sees something that may be of value inside a car, they will take their chances – especially if people make it easy for them by leaving their car unlocked.
“Motorists also need to be aware that some insurance companies may not pay out for claims when the vehicle has been left insecure – they risk losing not only their car but also being forced to pay for a new one and higher premiums in the future.
“My message is simple – lock your car, remove your valuables.”
• Always double lock your vehicle when you leave it if a double locking system is fitted. This will prevent anyone opening the doors even if they smash a window and reach inside.
• Ensure all the windows, sun roof and convertible top are closed when you leave your vehicle and that all doors are double or dead locked. Push lock button on key fob twice for Ford vehicles to engage double locking. For other vehicles refer to the handbook.
• If your vehicles audio unit has a removable front bezel or plate, always take it with you when you leave your vehicle.
• Check to see if your audio unit can store your VIN (Vehicles Identification Number), your Postcode, Registration Number or other information.
If you can use the facility it assists in the recovery of your vehicle if stolen.
• Mark your vehicle's windows and audio / in dash satellite navigation unit with the Ford vehicle security marking kit. This can be fitted to any make or model of vehicle as long as the audio unit is easily removable.
• Security Mark your portable Satellite Navigation equipment such as TomTom and Garmin equipment using the Ford marking kit . Always take them with you and remove the mounting cradle from the windscreen when you leave the vehicle. Wipe the windscreen where the equipment was mounted to remove any marks left by the suction cups.
Don't leave the Sat nav equipment in the glove box - thieves will look there first.
When locking your vehicle always,look for confirmation of the locked status (usually flashing of the hazard lights) and on some vehicles, the folding of the power door mirrors. If you do not see the confirmation of the doors locking, return to the vehicle and check by pulling the door handle to ensure the doors are locked.
Thieves use radio frequency jamming equipment to prevent cars from locking – especially in shopping centres and motorway service stations
• Never leave your vehicle engine running and the vehicle unattended, not even on your driveway in winter to defrost windows and warm the vehicle before starting a journey. Opportunist thieves have been known to get into your car and drive it away in these conditions when you go in your house to collect your bags.
• Never leave your vehicle unlocked with the keys /keyless fob inside – no matter how short the duration. Thieves will use this to their advantage and your insurance company may not pay your claim.
• Never leave valuables on show in the vehicle. Put items such as bags, laptops and, tool boxes in the boot but DON'T put them in the boot when you park up in the service area car park as you can been seen doing so by a potential thief. Always stow your valuables BEFORE starting of your journey.
• Never leave tools in your vehicle over-night. Take them indoors with you. This may take a little time each night but it may save you losing all your tools. Tools are often not covered by your vehicle insurance.
• If you have an estate vehicle with a cover fitted in the load area always use it.
• If you have additional vehicle security devices such as steering and gear lever locks use them when you leave your vehicle.
• If you have alloy wheels fit locking wheel nuts if not already fitted by the manufacturer. Hide the locking nut key somewhere safe rather than in the glove box or with the jack. Thieves always look there first.
• Don't put your vehicle keys on the first flat surface after you get through your front door or on a hook near the front door as they can be stolen via your letter box using a stick with a hook on the end. This is known as Fishing. Put them in a draw or cupboard away from windows or doors and out of sight.
• Don't take your car keys to bed with you. Leave them in a downstairs room, out of sight and away from windows & doors. Thieves have been known to enter bedrooms and use violence to obtain vehicle keys.
• Fit a wire mesh cage around your letter box on the inside of your door to catch letters and to help prevent thieves from key fishing.
Any information can be reported to the police on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.