Having your vehicle stolen or broken into can be very distressing. Layer security with SBD approved products. Below we have listed a few simple steps you can take to keep your vehicle, and what's in it, safe.

Vehicle crime 580 450Cars & vans

  • Leaving items on show is an invitation – power leads, SatNavs and mounts, stereo front panels, coins, sunglasses, tools, clothing and bags should be removed from the vehicle or placed out of sight
  • Keys and ignition fobs should be kept safe and out of sight and reach – a common way to steal a car or van is to take the keys or ignition fob, either when left in the vehicle or from your home through burglary
  • Always lock and close the windows of your vehicle when unattended – on the drive, the petrol station forecourt or when parking an unlocked vehicle is the easiest to steal or steal from. When away from home, consider using a Park Mark approved car park
  • Fit theft resistant number plate fittings – stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. Use one-way clutch head screws to secure plates
  • Consider using a steering wheel lock – or a lock that fits over the gear lever. Alternatively a security box can be fitted over the pedals to prevent thefts when the vehicle is parked up

Park your car or van in one of the 5,000+ ‘ Park Mark’ car parks around the country.  The Park Mark® Safer Parking Scheme is a Police Crime Prevention Initiative (Police-CPI) and is aimed at reducing both crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities. Accredited car parks can be found at train stations, hospitals, universities, town centres, shopping centres, leisure centres, airports, supermarkets, banks and office blocks. 

The smallest has 10 spaces, the largest has 13,000.  You can find them in cities, towns, villages and tourist attractions. http://www.parkmark.co.uk/

Catalytic Converter theft

The precious metals used in catalytic converters such as rhodium, platinum and palladium has led to an increase in their theft. Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles as these vehicles have two power sources (electric and petrol or diesel) so the catalytic converter is used less frequently - the metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves. Vans and SUV’s are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier.

To keep your vehicle safe, ask your manufacture or dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards to protect the catalytic converters under the vehicle. Any products will need to be approved by the vehicle manufacturer for use on your vehicle model.

Relay Theft

Vehicles fitted with a smart or passive key are susceptible to relay theft. This key system allows you to gain entry and start your vehicle without the need to interact with your vehicle’s key.

Criminals use specialist equipment that has the ability to grab the signal from the car to the smart key so that it appears to the car that the key is present. Your vehicle is most vulnerable overnight, particularly if parked on your driveway or directly outside your home.

How to prevent this:

  • When not in use – either at home or when out and about - store your key in a security pouch. Security pouches are sometimes termed Faraday bags or signal blockers/shields and there are many security rated versions on the market. These pouches will prevent the signal from your vehicle being captured using electronic devices
  • Remember to secure both keys in a security pouch

 

Key Programming

Key programming is being used by criminals to assign a new key to vehicles, by plugging a device into the on board diagnostic port (OBD) of the vehicle. The OBD port will in most cases be located in the driver’s footwell. Criminals will gain entry into your vehicle then plug into this port and programme a blank key to the vehicle.

  • Always make sure that your vehicle is locked and secure when leaving it unattended
  • Consider having an OBD lock guard professionally fitted
  • Electronic OBD security is available – seek the main dealer’s advice

 

Motorcycles

  • Keep your motorcycle in a garage, shed, designated bike store or use a motorcycle cover – storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft. Consider fitting a garage or shed alarm
  • Fit an alarm, immobiliser, preferably with tracking capability and property mark panels – alarms act as a deterrent and trackers and property marking assists in recovery should your motorcycle be stolen. Tracking systems should be discreetly located to prevent thieves from identifying and removing them
  • Lock the rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor and use a disk lock on the front wheel – making your motorcycle less of any easy option will reduce the chances of it being targeted. Combine the use of a disk lock and a chain lock attached to a ground anchor
  • When possible, keep the lock off the ground – whenever you lock and chain the rear wheel, wrap any excess chain around the rear wheel and try to enclose the lock. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed
  • Use a bike cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what it is they are less likely to target it

 

Mopeds

  • Chain your moped rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor, don’t rely on the steering lock – standard steering locks are easily defeated and your moped can always be lifted into a van if not secured. Use a disk lock on the front wheel
  • Fit theft resistant number plate fittings – stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. Use one-way clutch head screws to secure plates
  • Use a moped cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what moped it is they are less likely to target it.
  • When possible, keep the lock off the ground – whenever you lock and chain the rear wheel, wrap any excess chain around the rear wheel and try to enclose the lock. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed

 

Plant machinery

  • Remove keys, fit locking mechanisms or anchor to immovable objects – even when unattended for a short time keys should be removed. When left overnight machinery should be secured in a compound if possible and anti theft devices fitted, chained to immovable objects or together
  • Fit immobilisation and tracking systems – the use of tracking systems can notify the owner the machinery is being interfered with or moved, allowing for a prompt response to either prevent the theft or detain offenders. Anti theft devices make your plant less attractive to the thief
  • Maintain accurate records of equipment owned or hired, including serial numbers and registration numbers – accurate and detailed records allows for the identification of stolen plant machinery. Without this your mini digger could be any mini digger

Caravans

Caravans left on sites, parked on driveways and even static caravans can be a target for thieves. Newer models are likely to be more desirable to criminals but it does not mean that older models are not at risk.

You can take some simple measures to keep your vehicle safe.  You can consider each measure below in isolation but we recommend using a combination of physical and technical security together.

  • Fit physical security and a caravan cover - fit a combination of hitch lock anti-theft device, wheel clamps a physical barrier to theft is always a clear deterrent. SBD approved ground anchors with a high attack rating are another option to be considered
  • Using a caravan cover and installing an alarm makes any theft more difficult and your caravan less attractive. Fit an SBD approved tracking device so the caravan can be traced if stolen
  • Keep a records of serial numbers, chassis and model numbers and take note of any custom marks on the caravan or trailer. Take colour photographs from several angles and additionally take videos with a smart phone if possible, including roof markings. If stolen, being able to track and identify your caravan or trailer is vital
  • Security marking your vehicle using an SBD recognised forensic asset marking is another highly effective, visible deterrent to thieves and an established method of reducing theft
  • Lock all windows and doors every time you leave your caravan – it takes minutes for a thief to search through a caravan and their job is made simpler if they can get in easily
  • Ensure the roof light and gas compartment is locked
  • Never leave personal or valuable items in your caravan

 

Goods vehicles and Lorries

  • Lock it, remove it, alarm it – when leaving your vehicle unattended, first remove valuable items and cash from view, lock it and take the keys with you or leave in a secure drawer or office at work. Overnight, remove tools from vans or if parking up with an empty trailer, leave the doors open. Always set the vehicle alarm and keep fuel tanks locked
  • Plan journeys, have an itinerary, no hitch hikers – have a route planned, including lay-overs, so someone else knows where you are due to be. Where possible use safe lorry parks or park where visible to passing traffic. Avoid insecure locations like remote laybys and quiet industrial estates. Do not pick up strangers as you have no idea what their intentions are
  • Lock your vehicle and check it – even when on the move, making deliveries or refuelling, keep you vehicle locked and the keys with you. Before you start off again, visually inspect your vehicle, has anything changed, if so why
  • Consider using a steering wheel lock – or a lock that fits over the gear lever. Alternatively a security box can be fitted over the pedals to prevent thefts when the vehicle is parked up

 

Test Drive Theft

Test drive thefts are where a thief answers an advert for a vehicle sale pretending to be a genuine buyer. When they meet the vendor they ask for a test drive and never return with the vehicle.

  • Take steps to avoid this by going with the prospective buyer on any test drive and don’t leave anyone alone with the vehicle and its keys
  • Keep control of the vehicles key. Criminals will attempt to swap the original key with a counterfeit key
  • Ask any potential buyer for contact details and to see their driving licence and insurance. Never leave the vehicle keys in the ignition – keep hold of them

 

Quad Bike / All-Terrain Vehicles-ATV-Advice 

Quad Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles are a major target for thieves and organised gangs in the UK. These types of vehicles are easy to steal as thieves can easily jump on and drive off when you are working on a farm, or target them from workshops and barns. Remote locations such as farms can offer rich pickings due to the nature of their rural locations and isolation from other neighbours.

Consider the access to the farm yards and building - if gates or entrances are no longer used, then seal them off. Restrict access routes to the premises where possible – if not, ensure they have good natural surveillance from any farm houses.

  • Take precautions to deter thieves – remember the best security is a layered approach with the aim of making your property a less attractive target
  • Try to keep the vehicles out of site from nearby roads, as thieves will often survey properties looking for vehicles
  • Keep gates to yards closed, as open gates can be an open invitation to thieves. Lock barn or garage doors at night using a heavy duty SBD approved padlock and chain
  • When leaving vehicles overnight, a bespoke Quad/ATV drive on security device which clamps around the wheel and is secured to a concrete floor are a great solution. SBD approved locks and ground anchors with a high attack rating are another option
  • Fit immobilisation and tracking systems – the use of tracking systems can notify the owner the machinery is being interfered with or moved, allowing for a prompt response to either prevent the theft or detain offenders
  • Fit outside security lights controlled by an automatic time-switch or infra-red beams that react to heat or movement
  • Consider fitting an intruder alarm, CCTV systems, if the building is remote with no mains power a GSM -battery system could to alert you to anything suspicious
  • Keep a records of serial numbers, chassis and model numbers and take note of any custom marks on the vehicle. Take colour photographs from several angles and additionally take videos with a smart phone if possible
  • Security marking your vehicle using an SBD recognised forensic asset marking is another highly effective, visible deterrent to thieves and an established method of reducing theft
  • Finally, never leave your keys in the ignition, even if you only briefly leave your ATV/Quad bike unattended, and don’t be an easy target for opportunity theft

Many police forces operate a Rural Police team and help organise Farm and Country Business Watches to keep up to date on issues affecting rural communities. For more details contact your local police force. 

 

Further Information

https://www.thatcham.org/ Insurance certified security products
https://www.soldsecure.com/ Security products testing standard

Check your insurance policy for any further requirements