In some parts of Sutton theft from vehicles is the most reported crime each month. Locking your vehicle and keeping possessions out of sight not only protects your own property, it makes it less likely for further crime to escalate.
Lock your car and remove valuables
The majority of cars that are entered are left unlocked. Criminals routinely walk along whole streets late at night testing every car. If it’s locked they just move on, so don’t make it easy for them.
Don’t leave valuable items in the car or on display. Even cheap sunglasses on the dashboard make it more likely they’ll enter because it seems more likely other items will be in the car.
If you have a removable SatNav or use your phone, don’t leave the holder in place. Criminals will assume the device is in the glove compartment and enter the vehicle.
A technology in current use by thieves are relay devices which take of advantage of the keyless feature of some cars to open or start a vehicle.
They need to be within range of a key, but this can be done from outside the house, while the key fob is inside.
The most effective remedy is to purchase and use a Faraday bag or box for your key, which will block the wireless signal.
More detail on the models at risk and other tips can be found at Prevent Keyless Car Theft (8 Quick Tips) & What Relay Theft is. (locksmiths.co.uk) .
Theft of Vehicles
Using a wheel lock guarantees almost any criminal will try a different car.
However the majority of stolen vehicles are motorbikes, mopeds and scooters. While smaller one-person vehicles are always going to be easier to steal, there are many things you can do to protect them:
- Wheel locks that fix to the brake disc and disable the vehicle will deter casual theft.
- Locking it inside or chaining it to something will prevent more professional thieves that could otherwise pick it up and place it in a van.
GPS trackers can be fixed to cars and bikes, allowing them to be located if stolen and may lower insurance premiums. These can be purchased for home installation, or via most garages.
Never pursue a stolen vehicle yourself. Always pass on the details to the police.
Catalytic converter theft
What is it?
In the last couple of years this has become a serious problem across Sutton.
The catalytic converter is a box located under your car as part of the exhaust. It takes only a few minutes to lift a car and remove the part. The difference is noticeable immediately on starting the car, as the engine will sound much louder and irregular.
The main vehicles targeted are hybrid cars and large vans. They are stealing the convertor for the precious metals within and these have the largest quantity.
These crimes are often carried out by organised, violent criminals; you should not challenge them as you could put your own safety at risk. Ring 999 if the crime is in process.
What can be done?
The police have been working with scrap metal dealers to make it harder to sell these, and have attempted to set traps to catch the criminals.
Where possible park off road. The majority of incidents happen to cars parked against the curb, with far fewer happening on driveways.
It is possible to make the unit harder to remove and manufacturers are planning this for future vehicles. It is also possible for some garage mechanics to fit cages to make it harder to steal the device.
Some car alarms detect if the car is lifted, but not all include a roll sensor. Garages may also be able to help here.
Check Catalytic Converter advice at