Car Robber with Flashlight Image by Tomasz Zajda AdobeStock_90723230

One of the highest % increases in Great Britain according to RAC data

According to data analysed by RAC Insurance, last year, Bedfordshire saw a 37% increase in vehicle theft (1,445 in 2018-19 compared to 1,056 a year earlier).

This was the second highest percentage increase over this 12 month period. Only Suffolk had a higher percentage increase, with 44% more thefts than the previous year (945 compared to 655).

Detective Inspector Lee Martin, from Bedfordshire Police’s Crime Investigation Team, said:

“We are currently doing some intelligence work around the link between this type of crime and organised crime groups within the county. We also undertake a lot of cross-border work and link in with other forces in order to combat this.

“We would also urge people to ensure that all cars are kept locked and that all valuables are taken out of them to deter opportunist thieves. Keyless thefts are also an issue so we would advise you to keep the keys in a metal box, which blocks the signal and away from the front door.

“Also, please report anything suspicious to us via www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report/ or by calling 101 as this will help us build up a picture of where this type of crime is taking place and what types of vehicles are being targeted.”

For further information please visit Police Vehicle Security Advice.

RAC advice to lessen the chances of your car being stolen

More than 150,000 motor vehicles were stolen in Great Britain in the year 2018-19. This was 10,000 more than the year before, and a 54,932 increase compared to four years earlier. RAC Insurance spokesperson, Simon Williams, said:

“Based on these figures, it’s vital drivers take steps to protect themselves and avoid being an easy target.

“Three of the biggest factors that determine whether a car is stolen or not come down to how it’s secured, where it’s kept and the time of day.

“Criminals appear to prefer stealing vehicles at night, with those parked at owners’ homes, presumably where there is easier access to a key, also being favoured.”

RAC Insurance offers drivers this advice:

  • Don’t make your car an easy target. Always lock your car securely when you leave it, even for a short time. Ensure all doors, windows and any roof opening (sunroof or hood) are locked, and keep your keys with you. Consider buying a steering wheel lock for extra (visible) security. This can make it easier for a would-be thief to pass over your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to keep the car’s logbook secure at home, rather than in the car
  • Find the right place to park. Most vehicle-related theft takes place at night. When away from home, park in locations that are well-lit and open to public view – car parks that have security patrols and are covered by CCTV can be safer, and it’s also a good idea to look for the ParkMark logo at car parks that have met that certain security standards
  • Double-check your car is locked when you leave it. Make sure you see and hear your car locking before you leave it – look for the tell-tale flashing indicators and click of the locks engaging
  • Does your car use a keyless entry/start fob? Avoid being a ‘relay attack’ victim. Thieves can use a technique to copy the key signal to another device that’s placed close to a vehicle. This can fool the car into thinking the genuine key is present and can mean a thief can drive away in the car. If you have a keyless car fob, always keep it well away from doors and windows in your house. Keeping it in a metal (Faraday) box or signal blocking wallet can stop thieves copying the signal
  • Consider security when you next change your vehicle. If you are buying a car on the second-hand market make sure it has an immobiliser and, ideally, a Thatcham-certified alarm. You can also use Thatcham Research’s Consumer Security Ratings to help work out how secure certain models are
  • In winter: Icy morning? Don’t leave your car while it’s defrosting. The majority of vehicle thefts take place at vehicle owner’s home. Always stay in your vehicle while the car is warming up and demisting the windscreen – if you leave it, there’s a risk someone could get behind the wheel before you do

For more advice, check the RAC guide to car security.