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Paul Huntley, Head of Private Clients at PIB Insurance Brokers, explores what is causing the problem and advise for your customers to help prevent vehicle theft.
It has been widely reported that there has been a sharp increase in thefts of Land Rovers but the rises are across all types of vehicles. Out of the 31,017 car thefts that took place in the capital last year, 87.2% were unsolved by the Metropolitan Police. Just 1.6% led to a charge. The most commonly stolen car brands in the UK include Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes Benz1.
According to car finance company, carmoola2, many are sold for profit or stripped for parts. Some are sold overseas, where they can command a higher price than in the UK. Parts can be sold individually, and are often more profitable than selling the car as a whole. Stolen cars may be used as getaway vehicles after criminals have committed other crimes, such as robbery or to transport drugs.
The RAC3 reports that criminals are using cheap tracking devices to track, monitor and steal vehicles, with organised crime syndicates using the technology. These are hidden inside the vehicle or within luggage, enabling criminals to track the movement of the car and its owner before stealing it. Theft tends to occur just after the owner has parked, or if the car is unlocked. The RAC4 suggests that using an app to scan for tracking devices, such as Tracker Detect and Samsung’s Smart Things, check in wheel arches, fuel caps, roof linings and storage areas, or even have your own tracking device fitted.
To help prevent theft, the RAC provides a useful checklist4 which includes using dashcams and CCTV, anti-theft tools, and visual deterrents such as a sturdy lock for the steering wheel, pedals or gearstick.
If you have a car with keyless technology, there are additional risks of which you should be aware, as key hacking is a serious problem. Thieves attack the built-in systems that unlock the car when the key is nearby, using an electronic signal relay device. The best advice is to keep your keys as far away from your car as possible when you are not using it, or buy a bag specifically designed to protect your keyless technology from these signals.
For further information, please contact Paul Huntley, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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