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For most of us, our vehicle is the second largest purchase we make after our home, so it is important to make sure you do all you can to keep it secure. The security features of your vehicle should be as important as any other feature or accessory.

Having your vehicle broken into or stolen can be distressing, annoying and it can cause a lot of inconvenience if you are without it while it is being repaired or replaced.

Below we have listed a few simple steps you can take to keep your vehicle and what's in it, safe.

Lock your vehicle

Develop the habit of always locking your vehicle, even if you're stepping away for a brief moment. Whether refuelling or quickly retrieving something from your house, it's crucial not to overlook the security of your vehicle. Ensure that you properly lock your vehicle, especially if it has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked. Criminal gangs specifically target vehicles with extended wing mirrors, as it indicates that the vehicle has been left unlocked. Stay vigilant and protect your vehicle from potential theft by taking this simple yet effective precaution.

Keep your vehicle in a garage

If you have a garage “use it” and lock it. If you have gates ensure these are locked. Consider using an alarm for you garage and gates.

Keep your keys safe

Keys and ignition fobs should be kept safe and out of sight and reach. A common way to steal a car or van is to take the keys or ignition fob, either when left in the vehicle or from your home through burglary.

Keyless car theft

Vehicles fitted with a smart or passive key are susceptible to keyless car theft, also known as 'relay theft'. This key system allows you to gain entry and start your vehicle without the need to interact with your vehicle’s key.

Keyless car theft is when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by. This unlocks the car and starts the ignition. Criminals use specialist equipment that has the ability to grab the signal from the car to the smart key so that it appears to the car that the key is present. Your vehicle is most vulnerable overnight, particularly if parked on your driveway or directly outside your home.

How to prevent keyless car theft
  • When not in use – either at home or when out and about, store your keys (including spare keys!) in a security pouch. Security pouches are sometimes termed 'Faraday bags' or signal blockers/shields and there are many security rated versions on the market. These will prevent the signal from your vehicle being captured using electronic devices.
  • Keep updated with latest software: Many manufacturers are now updating their in-car security systems to stay ahead of these attacks.

For more advice on preventing keyless car theft, visit our dedicated webpage at

Keyless car theft in action

The CCTV footage below shows how thieves used the technology to steal a car which is parked in the driveway of a home. In a matter of seconds, they gained access and drove off.

Keyless car theft in action

Further Advice and Information

You can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer for further advice. CPOs can provide advice to individuals and can also address larger audiences, if necessary.

Contact the police as soon as you become aware that your vehicle has been stolen, damaged or broken into. Try to touch as little as possible, in order to preserve forensic evidence. 

Do not leave items on show

Leaving items visible inside your vehicle acts as an open invitation to potential thieves. It is important to remove or securely store items such as mobile phones, electronic equipment, coins, sunglasses, tools, clothing, and bags either by taking them out of the vehicle or placing them in the trunk. By doing so, you can deter thieves and protect your belongings from being targeted.

Park responsibly

Always lock and close the windows of your vehicle when unattended – on the drive, the petrol station forecourt or when parking an unlocked vehicle is the easiest to steal or steal from. When away from home, consider using a Park Mark approved car park. Visit Park Mark to find an approved car park.

Secure your number plates

Stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. By using clutch head security screws (also known as one-way security screws) to fasten your number plates, it becomes harder for thieves to remove or tamper with your plates, thus making it more difficult for them to obtain your vehicle's number.

Use a steering wheel lock

A steering wheel lock is a simple yet effective tool to protect your vehicle. Use a steering wheel lock and/or a lock that fits over the gear lever. Alternatively, a security box can be fitted over the pedals to prevent thefts when the vehicle is parked up.

Listen out for locking sounds

Ensure the security of your vehicle by double-checking its locking mechanisms. Listen out for the sound of your doors locking, lights flashing and/or mirrors closing. If you do not hear or see these indications, it is crucial to perform a thorough double check to ensure that your vehicle is properly secured. Taking this extra step helps prevent potential theft and provides peace of mind regarding the safety of your vehicle.

Install a tracker

Fitting a tracker into your vehicle can notify you when it becomes active or is travelling in a new area. In the unfortunate event of a theft, certain advanced vehicle alarm and tracker systems can even provide the capability to remotely disable fuel systems, effectively immobilising the stolen vehicle and leaving the thief stranded without a getaway. By installing your vehicle with a tracker, you enhance its security and significantly increase the chances of recovering your vehicle in case of theft.

Catalytic Converter theft

The precious metals used in catalytic converters such as rhodium, platinum and palladium has led to an increase in their theft. Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles as these vehicles have two power sources (electric and petrol or diesel) so the catalytic converter is used less frequently - the metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves. Vans and SUV’s are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier.

To keep your vehicle safe, ask your manufacture or dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards to protect the catalytic converters under the vehicle. Any products will need to be approved by the vehicle manufacturer for use on your vehicle model.

Advice for motorcycle, moped and cycle owners

Read our advice and recommendations on maintaining the safety and security of your motorcycle and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), moped or bicycle.

    • Keep your motorcycle or ATV in a garage, shed, designated bike store or use a motorcycle cover. Storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft. You could also consider fitting a garage or shed alarm
    • Fit an alarm, immobiliser, preferably with tracking capability and property mark any panels. Alarms act as a deterrent and trackers and property marking assists in recovery should your motorcycle be stolen. Tracking systems should be discreetly located to prevent thieves from identifying and removing them.
    • Lock the rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor and use a disk lock on the front wheel. This will make your motorcycle or ATV less of any easy option and it will reduce the chances of it being targeted. 
    • When possible, keep the lock off the ground. Whenever you lock and chain the rear wheel, wrap any excess chain around the rear wheel and try to enclose the lock. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed.
    • Use a bike cover - covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what it is they are less likely to target it.
    • Chain your moped rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor, don’t rely on the steering lock. Standard steering locks are easily defeated and your moped can always be lifted into a van if not secured. Use a disk lock on the front wheel.
    • Fit theft resistant number plate fittings. Stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. Consider using one-way clutch head screws to secure plates.
    • When possible, keep the lock off the ground. Whenever you lock and chain the rear wheel, wrap any excess chain around the rear wheel and try to enclose the lock. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed.
    • Use a moped cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what moped it is they are less likely to target it.
    • Always lock your bike and avoid parking it in isolated or dimly lit places.
    • Invest in a good bike lock. Hardened steel D-shaped locks are recommended as standard.
    • Lock your bike to an immovable object such as lampposts or railings.
    • Secure removable parts such as wheels, or take smaller parts with you, for example lights and quick release saddles.
    • Get your bike security marked, labelled or engraved.
    • Use a bike cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what it is they are less likely to target it

    Always keep a record of your bike including:

    • Make
    • Type and colour frame number
    • Frame (type and size)
    • Tyres (type and size)
    • Fitted accessories

Security Rated Products

A variety of nationally accredited security-rated products have emerged to provide you with peace of mind and protection.

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative. Using their Accredited Product Search, you can find products which have been awarded the 'Police Preferred Specification' status. By integrating these trusted solutions into your own security measures, you can enhance the safety of your home, workplace, and other environments.

Sold Secure is an independent organisation specialising in testing and certifying security products. They evaluate the effectiveness and resilience of various security equipment, including locks, padlocks, vehicle security and bicycle locks. Through rigorous testing methods, Sold Secure assesses how these products withstand different types of attacks, such as cutting, drilling, picking and manipulation.

Key programming

Key programming is being used by criminals to assign a new key to vehicles, by plugging a device into the On Board Diagnostic port (OBD) of the vehicle. The OBD port will in most cases be located in the driver’s footwell. Criminals will gain entry into your vehicle then plug into this port and programme a blank key to the vehicle.

  • Ensure you reprogramme your keys if you buy a second hand car
  • Have an OBD lock guard professionally fitted
  • Electronic OBD security is available – seek the main dealer’s advice