Vehicle Crime and Catalytic Converters - Neighbourhood Watch Alert


Alert Notice 3/7/23

Vehicle Crime and Catalytic Converters.

Do not let thieves get an easy ride by following these simple steps to protect your vehicle from being stolen.

Locking your vehicle even when filling up at the garage, or parking your car on the drive greatly reduces the risk of being targeted by opportunist thief. Even if you have locked your vehicle, check you have not left a window or sunroof open and never leave any valuable documents inside, handbag, mobile, wallet or the portable Sat Nav on show. Take everything with you.

If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold automatically when locked make sure you lock it properly as criminal gangs are looking where the wing mirrors are still out because that is a clear sign the vehicle has not been locked .

Never leave your keys in the ignition even if you are just jumping out of the car to post a letter, opening the boot, or paying for petrol, as a thief can easily drive off leaving you stranded.

Keep Keys Safe.

Vehicles today are more difficult to steal unless the thief is able to access your keys or fob to clone them. Never leave your keys by the front door, or in sight.

Cars with keyless entry unlock automatically when the key comes within a short distance of the car. This can be from inside a pocket or bag. If you have to push a button on your car key then you do not have a keyless entry.

Keyless car theft or relay theft is when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by, this then unlocks the car and starts the engine. Thieves only need to be within a few metres of your car to capture the signal even if it is inside your home, so it is advisable to put your fob into a tin box or security Faraday pouch . These can be bought from Princes Risborough & District NW Asso at £4.00 each.

A simple old fashion sturdy steel lock for the steering wheel, gear stick and pedals or a brightly wheel clamp is enough to put any thief off as they know it is going to be hard work to remove these items from the car. Another inexpensive item is locking wheel nuts to protect your alloy wheels, making it more difficult for a thief to gain access by sliding a potable jack under the car.

You can also have your VIN vehicle identification number etched onto each of the windows so your car can be returned even if given new number plates.

In traffic always drive with your car doors locked and make sure you give yourself enough space in front of your vehicle to get out of a tight spot. If your vehicle is bumped from behind wait to pull over somewhere safe and preferable where there are people. If you are suspicious then call the police.

Catalytic Converter Theft.

Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts to reduce the amount of dangerous gases emitted. They are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals which can be removed in less than a minute.

If you see a vehicle being raised using a car jack in a car park or residential entry or hear a loud drilling or cutting sound coming from underneath a vehicle then these are signs that a catalytic theft is being committed. If the crime is happening at the time ring 999, or if it has already happened then report it online or ring 101.

To try and prevent catalytic convertors being stolen from your car(s) if you have a driveway try adding lose gravel to deter intruders stepping onto your property, or make sure that fences, bushes and walls in front of your house are no higher than a metre high, as that gives intruders less opportunity to steal. If you need to park in the street make sure you park under a street lamp and try to make it as difficult as possible to get under your car.

There are also locks, and guards for the underside of your cars available such as Catloc or ask your garage to add a serial number to your catalytic converter or mark it with a forensic marker, which in turn makes it more difficult for the thieves to sell on.

Please take care as we are seeing a slight increase in car thefts.

Best wishes


Area Coordinator