Top police tips to keep cars safe as figures chart rise in vehicle theft in West Midlands

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealed that West Midlands Police recorded 3,989 vehicle theft offences.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “Vehicle theft has increased by a third in the last year, driven by a global shortage of car parts, and we suspect many cars end up in chop shops where they are dismantled for parts. We’re urging people to support our car crime campaign by reporting any suspicious behaviour at garages or industrial units that could indicate they’re acting as chop shops.

“Vehicle crime is currently one of the top priorities for the force.”

The statistics come as a number of chop shops have been found in the West Midlands region with stolen vehicles and stolen car parts found within the properties, and now West Midlands Police is urging people to support the campaign and report any suspicious behaviour at garages or industrial units which could indicate they are acting as chop shops, where many stolen vehicles end up.

In the past few months alone, there have been several raids on chop shops in the region, all found to have stolen vehicles or parts.

A recent bust at a chop shop in Hickman Avenue, Wolverhampton was found to have a £100,000 Range Rover which had been taken the previous day from Solihull.

Another chop shop was uncovered in Cheston Road, Aston in May this year, which had stolen vehicles from across the region and even from Manchester.

Police were able to track down a stolen Range Rover which led them to the site.

22 stolen cars were traced back at an industrial site in Brierley Hill in February, with one vehicle involved in a robbery in which a woman was robbed at knifepoint.

Three men were arrested in April after a stash of stolen car parts were seized in a police raid at a Black Country scrapyard in Kelvin Way, West Bromwich.

These arrests were made on the back of intelligence suggesting that the site was handling and breaking down stolen vehicles.

Vehicle theft is rife not only in the West Midlands but across the country, and police have provided steps that owners can take, to do all that they can from having their vehicles stolen.

On Thursday, July 14, five masked men attempted to take an Audi S3 from a driveway using the viral method of key scanning, but once that method did not work, the thieves resorted to trying to breaking into the property, but were deterred once the house security sirens started blaring.

Meticulously planned operations have taken place in the city, with many areas including Goldthorn Park, and Penn in particular being targeted for vehicle theft.

After thieves failed in their attempts in taking the Audi from Honor Avenue, it was later found that three vehicles also thought to be stolen were used in the operation and seven people involved.

Car thieves attempted to steal an Audi in Wolverhampton but failed after being deterred by house security systems
Car thieves attempted to steal an Audi in Wolverhampton but failed after being deterred by house security systems

Police officers that attended the scene praised the householders for doing all that they could in having CCTV and sensitive house security alarms, but also said that there is only so much that owners can do to deter thieves.

West Midlands Police has launched a campaign called ‘Car Crime Campaign’ where they are urging people to support it, and take on board their advice on measures to take to deter vehicle thieves.

The steps provided by West Midlands Police are:

  • Make sure ‘your fob has done the job’, and that passengers haven’t left a window or door open, even slightly.

  • Consider using a Sold Secure tested and approved steering wheel lock that ideally provides full coverage of the wheel.

  • To protect your passive entry vehicle against a relay attack go to the Secured By Design website to search for products using key word search ‘shielding for car keys’. Remember your spare keys as well.

  • Check with your main dealer that – regardless of the age of the vehicle – it has had all its recalls completed and software and firmware updated.

  • Check with your main dealer what latest security measures can be retrofitted to older vehicles. This can cost less than the excess on your insurance, in the event of a claim.

  • Explore what aftermarket security products are available from third parties. You can search for these on the Thatcham, Secured By Design and Sold Secure websites.

  • Some vehicles have tracking as standard nowadays, but you can install an approved aftermarket vehicle tracker, search Thatcham’s website for independently tested products.

  • Keep full control of your keys. Valet parking, car washes, and even some garages have been found to copy keys.

  • Don’t leave anything visible in the vehicle. Sat navs / dash cams, loose change, and bags are all attractive to thieves.

  • When parking, always choose a well-lit location with natural or electronic surveillance. Use a car park, whenever possible, which has been awarded the ‘Park Mark’.

  • At home, if you have a garage, use it. Consider installing security lights or CCTV to improve the deterrent.

  • Think where you leave your keys when at home. Do not leave keys close to the front door however easy it may be. Never take them to bed with you either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.