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Advice on how to protect your vehicle from theft

Vehicle security

Theft from a vehicle


1. Windows


Always make sure you have locked your vehicle and check all its windows, and the sunroof, are closed. Leaving windows, or the sunroof open, invites thieves to ‘fish’ for items with their hands or using something like a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in.

2. Personal items

Never leave your personal items on display. Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief so hide them from view. If you don’t, your vehicle will be an obvious target and a thief won’t hesitate to quickly smash a window to steal from you. Often, the cost of replacing the window is more than the value of the items taken.

More valuable items such as wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle. 

3. Parking

Parking in well-lit areas and busy streets increases the chances of a thief being seen, so they’ll probably steer clear of trying to break into your vehicle. If possible, always try to park in well-lit and staffed car parks or those with a Park Mark safer parking award

4. Gadgets

Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows, or cables that are in plain sight, gives it away that you might have a gadget in your car. Even if thieves can’t see the device, they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of view.

5. Documents

A thief may not necessarily break into a vehicle to steal documents but if you keep them in the car it leaves you open to the possibility that an opportunistic criminal may take them. Having a vehicle’s registration and insurance documents could let someone pretend to be the owner allowing them to sell the vehicle quite easily.

6. Number plates

Criminals may want to get hold of your number plates so they can change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid a speeding ticket or parking fine. Make it harder for them by securing your plates with security screws.

7. Wheels

Wheels are also valuable to criminals. You can use locking wheel nuts to reduce the risk of your vehicle’s wheels being stolen.

8. The outside of your vehicle

Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests can be easily stolen by thieves when a vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle are advised however, it is best to avoid leaving things in them if possible. 



Theft of vehicle

  • Always lock your vehicle and close the windows and sunroof
  • If your vehicle contains an alarm, ensure it is well marked on the vehicle as this acts as a deterrent to a thief
  • Look after your car keys and keep them out of sight and secure, even when you are at home
  • Ensure your car is parked in a well-lit area and where possible in car parks secured with CCTV such as those with a Park Mark safer parking award
  • Use a steering lock to make it harder for thieves to drive off in your vehicle
  • Fit a tracking device to your vehicle and ensure you know how to activate it

​If your vehicle has been stolen or you see anything suspicious, please call the City of London Police on 101 or if deemed urgent 999.

You can also report the theft online​​