Dacorum motorists warned to protect cars as vehicle thefts increase by 155 per cent locally

“Remain vigilant and report suspicious incidents”
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Motorists in Dacorum have been warned to ensure they are safely locking their cars following a substantial rise in reported vehicle thefts.

In Dacorum a 155 per cent rise in vehicle thefts has been reported in 2023 compared to the same period last year. Also, a 56 per cent increase in thefts of items inside cars has also been confirmed.

Most of the items stolen had been left in vehicles whilst they were unattended, or were thefts of catalytic converters, which are still being targeted for the precious metals they contain, police state.

Herts PoliceHerts Police
Herts Police

Crime prevention officer, Darren Cowell, said: “Many reported thefts from vehicles occur when they are left unlocked, so leaving valuable items on display in a vehicle is a sure way to encourage opportunistic thieves to check the door handles.

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"Removing any items such as bags, boxes, coats or loose change is an easy way to make your vehicle safer. I would also urge the public to follow our advice, remain vigilant and report suspicious incidents in their neighbourhood, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary has the following advice for road users:

-Lock your car whenever it is left unattended and keep it in a garage when parked at night if possible.

-Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running, even if you are only absent for a moment.

-When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make catalytic converter theft difficult.

-Consider fitting CCTV covering your home and driveway, to help deter thieves.

-Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.

-If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.

-Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius from between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.

-Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.

-Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security.

-Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don’t want to alert you to their approach.

-Never leave valuable items or tools on display in your vehicle as this may encourage a thief to break in.

More crime advice, specifically relating to vehicle theft, can be found on the police force’s website here.

Crimes can be reported to Hertfordshire Police online here, officers in its Force Communications Room can be addressed directly via an online web chart service which can be found here, or by calling the non-emergency number 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

To report a crime 100 per cent anonymously people can use independent charity, Crimestopper’s online portal here.

To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people residents can use Online Watch Link (OWL) here or download the ‘OWL crime alerts’ app.