Crime Prevention Advice - Car and Driver Security

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Vehicle crime - protect yourself

Did you know that...

  • Half a million vehicles are stolen in the UK every year.  
  • Vehicle crime accounts for more than a quarter of all reported crime.  
  • 40 percent of stolen vehicles are never returned to their owners.  
  • Older cars are more likely to be stolen than newer ones  
  • Property is stolen from cars every 13 seconds in England and Wales  
  • More than 30 percent of vehicle crime happens in car parks  


  • 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, cheque book, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car. 
  • (If you have no choice but to do so, make sure they are hidden well out of sight before you begin your journey - thieves may be watching you park!) 

Keys - keep them safe

  • Never leave them in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards. 
  • Make sure they are kept in a secure place at home and at work - burglars have been known to break into houses and offices to steal car keys.  

Buying a car


  • 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 (Vehicle Identification Number) matches that on the registration document - see the section VIN - know where it is - to help you find it.  


  • 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.  
  • View a car before you've read "The Car Buyers Guide" - we suggest you take a copy with you as a reminder to ask the right questions.  

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 - see the section 'Take their advice' for further information.  

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer.

Look for the VIN:

  • 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.  
  • When buying a car, always check that the VIN has not been tampered with and that it matches that on the registration document (V5).  

We advise you to consider the following security features

  • electronic engine immobilisation  
  • locking wheel nuts  
  • secure in-car entertainment  
  • lockable fuel caps  
  • central locking  
  • security etching  
  • deadlocks  
  • alarms  

You should ensure your car has as many of these features as possible.

Speak to your insurer about security - some systems may reduce your premium.

Think about fitting a vehicle tracking system if you are buying a particularly expensive car or one that might be attractive to thieves.

  • For security advice call the National Vehicle Security Helpline on 0870 550 2006, or speak to your local police Crime Prevention Officer.  
  • For a list of recognised security products call Sold Secure on 0800 192 192.  
  • For information about vehicle inspections call the AA on 0800 234 999, or the RAC on 0990 333 660.  
  • To check the status of a second-hand vehicle, call Equifax HPI on 01722 422 422.  

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