SURREY Police is taking proactive steps to tackle vehicle crime across the county. The initiative will see neighbourhood officers and extra patrol teams focusing on reducing the offences of Theft of a Motor Vehicle (TOMV) and Theft from a Motor Vehicle (TFMV) throughout January.
From April to October 2011 the Force recorded a 6.6% decrease in vehicle crime when compared to same period in 2010. However, sat nav thefts are on a par with that of previous years and thefts of vehicle parts (namely catalytic converters) are on the increase. Reduction in these areas will therefore be a key priority.
Research carried out by Surrey Police shows similar vehicles are targeted for both TOMV and TFMV offences, and in particular the transit van is popular among thieves. Offences are most prominent on a Friday and Saturday night, and offenders are most likely to be male, in their late teens to early 20s who reside locally. Throughout January, patrols and teams dedicated to the initiative will be out targeting known criminals who commit vehicle crime. Working alongside the Roads Policing Unit and Safer Neighbourhood Officers the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team will be stopping vehicles which are known to have been stolen or have links to offenders.
In addition to these operational activities a local advertising campaign has also been launched giving preventative tips to educate the public in keeping their vehicles safe. I nnovative Fixed Police Notices´ containing crime prevention advice for drivers will also be put on cars in hot spot areas or where vehicle crime has recently taken place.
Inspector Richard Mallett of Surrey Police Roads Policing Unit said: Having your car stolen or broken into can cause a great deal of expense and inconvenience and can push up insurance premiums. But most vehicle crime incidents can be prevented. Many of the cars targeted are left unlocked or have items left on view or in the boot.
Our message to the public is to never leave your vehicle in a vulnerable position. It only takes seconds to close your windows, lock your doors and remove personal possessions but if you don’t you could find your car has become an easy target for thieves.
This issue is a top policing priority for Surrey Police and therefore we are increasing patrols, giving crime prevention advice out to residents and targeting individuals who are believed to be involved in vehicle crime.
Surrey residents can help to reduce vehicle crime and support police action by taking these simple steps to ensure their vehicles remains secure:
1, Never leave any personal possessions in your car. Thieves love to steal sat nav systems, laptops and mobile phones. But less obvious items such as clothes, cigarettes and loose change are also appealing.
2, Dont think youll be safe if you hide valuables in the boot of your car or under the front seat. Thieves know where to look.
3, If you use a portable sat nav system, wipe away the suction marks on the windscreen at the end of your journey and dont leave the system in your car.
4, Leave your glove box open and empty. Dont store driving or vehicle documents in your car. Keep them safely at home.
5, Always lock your car when you leave it, even if its just for a moment or two and even if it is parked in your driveway. Make sure your sunroof and windows are shut and locked too.
6, If your car doesnt have an alarm, get one fitted, or use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
7, Look after your car keys and keep them out of site. Never leave them within reach of a window, door or letterbox.
8, Number plate theft is on the increase. Secure your number plate with clutch head screws.
9, If you own a vehicle with high clearance such as a 4WD or a van, you may be at risk of catalytic converter theft. Mark yours to deter thieves.
10, Keep your eye out for potential car criminals. If you see someone looking inside cars, or trying car door handles call Surrey Police on 101. In an emergency always call 999.
Call 101 for all non-emergency policing matters.
Call 999 if you have a genuine emergency requiring the attendance of the police (eg a crime is in progress or someone is in immediate danger).
Call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information about crime and don’t want to leave your name.