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Car Crime Initiatives

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 8 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Car Crime Initiatives

Car crime remains a major problem in the UK. This is despite advances in car security, CCTV in car parks, and greater vigilance.As a result, various organisations have launched car crime initiatives. Local councils, central government, the police and insurance companies all have a vested interest in ensuring that such initiatives work and help reduce car crime to a minimum.


At Christmas, many people head for the major shopping centres. They go to the car parks and then use their vehicles for storage. In other words, they buy presents, return to their cars and put the gifts in the boot, and go back to the shops to make further purchases.

Some thieves grab this opportunity. They wait in car parks to see who is using a vehicle for storage. Then they lever open the boot or smash a window and steal the goods. To help prevent this, the police ask shoppers not to leave presents in parked cars. In the weeks before Christmas, some police forces also issue laminated notices. Drivers place these behind their windscreens. Such a notice states: “On the advice of the police, I have not left any valuables in this car”.

Mobile Phones, Laptops and Satnavs

Criminals use devices to detect equipment such as mobile phones and laptops in a car. These devices tell the thieves if something in the car is generating an electronic signal. It’s obviously best not to leave phones or laptops in a car. If a driver has no choice, one way to help avoid theft is to switch the equipment off. Also ensure that every item, including a satnav system, is out of sight.

Many thieves who steal electronic equipment are not local. They drive to an area to commit their crimes. To combat this, some police forces use a car crime initiative that employs Automated Number Plate Recognition. This allows them to track the movements of criminals and their cars, and proactively stop theft.

Neighbourhood Watch

The Neighbourhood Watch scheme has become involved in initiatives to fight car crime. The “On Display Easy Prey” scheme is one example. Under the scheme, a member of the public can complete a short police form when he or she sees an unattended car with valuables on display. The police then send a letter to the owner of the vehicle. The letter explains the risk of leaving items of value in a vehicle.

Trap Cars

In some car parks, the police use Trap Cars. These are cars fitted with cameras. When a criminal breaks into the vehicle, the camera records the event and allows the police to identify the thief. The police can then use this in court.


Similar cameras sometimes appear in taxis. These mini CCTV systems give the police images of anyone who attempts to steal from the driver or the passengers.


Criminals may sometimes break into a home in order to steal a car. Their aim is to find car keys. They often find these by a door or in a coat pocket. Car crime initiatives around the country advise people to keep car keys secure. One of the best ways of doing this is to leave the keys in a mini safe hidden somewhere in the home.

Local Developments

For news about car crime initiatives, contact the police or local council. There may be leaflets, advice and practical help that can bring peace of mind.

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