Top five things stolen from cars

Top five things stolen from cars

We thought we’d have a little look at what gets stolen the most from cars, and what, if anything, you can do about it.

Why are we focusing on this? A couple of reasons really: (1) – because there’s nothing worse than getting to your car and realising that something’s been stolen and (2) – because if you have to claim on your insurance because something’s stolen, it’ll put your premium up – and nobody wants that.

But first, a little look at the stats around car crime – don’t worry, we’ll be quick, promise! In fact, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The crime figures over the last 10 years

Looking at the figures over the last few years, you’ll be pleased to know that between 1995-2015, the rate of car related crime has dropped by 80%! We bet that’s put a smile on your face, or maybe it’s left you wondering why your insurance isn’t dropping too…hmm.

So, car crime is on the decline, but there were still an estimated 872,000 car related crimes in the year ending June 2015. That means you still need to keep your stuff safe – that’s stuff on your car and in your car too.

And don’t be thinking that because you’ve got an alarm it’ll stop people smashing your windows and making off with your laptop – it won’t!

So let’s get on to the bit you’re really want to know – what, according to the Metropolitan Police, are the top 5 most stolen items from cars,

Number 1.

Electrical items – no surprises here. Leaving laptops, mobiles, sat navs, or any other electrical gadgetry on show, will be life a red rag to a bull for opportunist thieves.

What can you do about it?

Well, this one is really simple – don’t leave it on show. If you don’t want to take it with you put it in your glove box or boot. Opportunists will usually skim past cars looking for things on view, so safer if yours isn’t.

Number 2.

Bags left on view – we know, it’s hard to believe that anyone would a bag in full view these days, but they still do. If you risk it, be prepared to be minus a side window and bag when you get back to your car.

What can you do about it?

Another easy one, take them with you or hide them away. Oh and another thing, it’s not just bags that thieves are after, anything that they can be on their toes with will do. So make sure you hide coats, jumpers, tools – anything that’s worth something basically.

Number 3.

Number plates – you might think this is strange, but thieves take them so they can use them on stolen cars or to hide their true identity. If yours get nabbed, report it, so if your car ends up being the getaway in a million-pound heist, you’ll have an alibi. To be serious, the most common use for fake number plates is actually for fuel theft.

And, just to show you the scale of this problem, in 2014 there were 20,700 number plates reported stolen in England and Wales.

But number plates are not the only thing that thieves want when it comes to assuming your ID. They’ll also look for important documents, like insurance or registration papers. These will be used to sell cars on fraudulently.

What can you do about it?

There’s the usual stuff, like making sure your car is parked in a garage. If you don’t have one, near to your home, in a well-lit area is your best bet. Then there are some specific things you can buy, like anti-tamper screws, they work like locking wheel nuts and even anti-theft number plates.

And documents? Well, make sure you either take them with you, or lock them away safe somewhere in the car.

If you find your number plates, or any important docs have been nabbed, call the police and let them know. It’ll make it so much easier to prove it’s not you when the various fines start showing up.

Number 4.

Alloy wheels – these will pretty much always have steal-appeal. Who wouldn’t want a nice set of shiny alloys to ogle over? Difference is, you’re willing to pay for them, the thief will just steal yours instead. And they do quite often, in 2015 insurance companies had 15-20 sets of alloy wheels reported stolen every week!

What can you do about it?

Standard advice first: in a garage, if not, a well-lit area, near to home. Then get yourself some locking wheel nuts, preferably category four Thatcham rated ones. That’s about all you can do really, because there are tools to get locking wheel nuts off – for people who’ve lost the special tool that comes with the kit obviously.

Number 5.

Catalytic converters – this is a bit of a strange one, and probably something you’d not considered steal-able, but you’d be surprised. If you don’t already know, it’s part of the exhaust system and, according to our Norfolk Constabulary friends, it’s valuable as scrap because it contains a number of precious metals, like platinum, palladium and rhondium.

Although having it stolen won’t damage your car, it will cause it to fail an emission test on an MOT, making it no longer road legal, so it does need to be replaced asap.

What can you do about it?

There are a number of things you can do reduce the risk of your catalytic converter being stolen, parking in a garage being the most obvious. But for those without one, here are some other ways to stop the thieves getting their hands on it:

• Park right – Don’t park half on, half off the curb. Try to make the underside of your car as inaccessible as you can.

• Have it welded on – cats are usually just bolted on, so getting it welded will make it much less attractive for thieves.

• Mark and register it – you mark and register you cat with a company like Retainagroup. Then, if it’s stolen it can be traced.

Phew! Did you get all that? Thankfully, you don’t have to because you can come back to it time and again.

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