On the afternoon Wednesday 3rd December 2008, a burglary occurred at a dwelling in Collingbourne Kingston.Car keys were located within the house, and as well as other property, the car, a high value 4×4 was stolen off the drive.
The good news is that the vehicle was spotted, and followed by Hampshire to Luton, where 6 people were arrested and are currently in custody.
Although this is a great result, part of my job is to prevent these offences occurring in the first place so I am getting on my soap box again to give you a few tips to prevent yourselves becoming a victim.
Modern cars can only be stolen in one of two ways, with the keys, or towed away. Long gone are the days where you can “hotwire” a car, so thieves have had to adapt their techniques to acquire keys to vehicles they want to steal.
Whilst burglary to obtain car keys is on the increase, very often, no one has to actually break into your house because a recent survey has shown that most people leave their car keys a few feet from their front door on a hall table or wall hook, and most are visible from the letterbox enabling the bad guys (or gals) to simply fish them through the letterbox!
Go and check where you keys and spares are right now…………………………scary isn’t it?
Anyway simple precautions like using a key safe or hiding your spare keys will prevent this opportunist theft. When you are actually driving the car, if you have to stop anywhere and get out, turn off the engine and take the keys with you. It takes a thief seconds to jump in and disappear with your pride and joy,preferably without causing injury to you, and if it gets burnt out or shipped abroad (the latter would have been the fate of the 4×4 above had Hampshire not been on the ball) the insurance will not pay out as you have not taken reasonable care.Remember the recent case of the Porsche driver who left the keys in his car whilst he paid for fuel? Despite taking the case to the ombudsman he lost his appeal and is £70,000 out of pocket! I doubt he would have left that much cash unattended so why should it be different with a car?
If you do have a special or high value car, it may be worthwhile having a tracking device fitted.This will not only reduce your insurance premium, but dramatically improves the chances of recovering the vehicle should it be stolen. There are several systems available, but all rely on a transmitter being hidden in the vehicle, and this is remotely activated when the car is stolen, which sends a signal to suitably equipped police cars, helicopters and ports.
Finally, when you park your vehicle, always ensure valuables like sat navs, lap tops and DVD players are removed as well as things that look like they may contain valuables e.g., I had a lady leave a rucksack in her car which only contained spare nappies, but the thief didn’t know this until he (or she) had broken the car window scattering glass shards over the interior . The resulting inconvenience of waiting for the window to be repaired, cleaning all the glass and drying out the car after the overnight storm far overshadowed the extra journey into the house with the bag.
If anyone has any specific queries re car crime, I am happy to give advice either by email or on the usual numbers. Thanks,
PC Mark Randle 962
CBM Tidworth Rural
hone:0845 4087000 extension 744 817/8