Vehicle crime

Vehicle security - image of officer walking pass vehicle

Vehicle crime - protect yourself

Did you know that...

  • Most vehicle crime is preventable. It can take as little as 10 seconds for a thief to steal something from your car. If at all possible, leave nothing on view.
  • Never leave valuable items in your car, including sunglasses, the removable radio cover and your Sat Nav. Do you really need all those things you keep in the glove box?
  • Wipe away the Sat Nav mark on your windscreen.
  • Consider fitting anti-tamper screws to your number plate.
  • Never leave your car keys where they can be seen from the front door.

Safer Parking Award SchemeThe Safer Parking Award is an initiative of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities.

Vehicle common sense


  • Close the windows and sunroof; lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car unattended.
  • Park with care, particularly at night or if you are leaving the vehicle for a long time. If possible, park in a busy, well-lit area.


  • Leave cash, credit cards, chequebook, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car.
  • Never leave your keys in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards.

Buying a used car - be prepared!


  • Ask to see proof of the seller's identity and address - an official letter or driving licence, for example.
  • Make sure the car's VIN matches that on the registration document (V5) - The VIN, formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer and can be found: Stamped on the body chassis or frame. On a manufacturer's VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors. On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen - this is called a visible VIN.


  • Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details.
  • Buy a car without the registration document (V5) - make sure it has a DVLA watermark and has not been altered in any way.

Check it out

  • If in doubt, ask the AA, RAC or another reputable organisation to inspect the car before agreeing to buy.
  • You can check the car's history and second-hand status by contacting Equifax HPI.

We have provided some booklets about car crime which you may find useful - see related documents on this webpage.

If you have any information on any crime you can call Crimestoppers.