Thefts from vehicles up 150 per cent in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 13:17 11 July 2018

There has been a 150 per cent rise in thefts from vehicles in Stevenage. File photo.

There has been a 150 per cent rise in thefts from vehicles in Stevenage. File photo.

Archant

Thefts from vehicles in Stevenage have risen by more than 150 per cent since April compared with the same period last year, police announced today.

The number of incidents between April and July stands at 166, 100 more than last year – and police are urging motorists to keep their vehicles secure.

Insp Andrew Palfreyman, of the force’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “We tend to see more thefts from vehicles when the weather is hot, as people often leave windows open to keep their vehicles cool.

“If you leave valuable items in your vehicle on view, this can encourage thieves to try and break in. Make sure that any items are not on view, such as coats, bags, phones and try to remove anything of value from the vehicle when left overnight.

“Vans are also being targeted for tools and equipment stored in them. Criminals can use a variety of methods to bypass vehicle security systems, so I urge the removal or securing of tools.

“We are running crime prevention events across the county helping people to secure their vehicles and security marking valuables. Details of these events can be found at www.herts.police.uk.”

The average rise across Hertfordshire is 10 per cent, but other areas with a higher increase are St Albans, Three Rivers and Hertsmere – up 39, 34 and 23 per cent respectively.

A police spokeswoman has also confirmed to the Comet that two men have been charged in connection with Stevenage vehicle crime.

Det Insp Chris Treadwell said: “We have recently arrested two men in connection with vehicle crime in Stevenage. James Sullivan, aged 35, of Hawkshead Road in Potters Bar, was arrested on May 31 and charged with multiple thefts from motor vehicles. He has been remanded back to prison.

“And Rodney Marks, aged 49, of Prestatyn Close in Stevenage, was arrested on June 5, in connection with theft from vehicles and several other offences including a non-dwelling burglary. He appeared at Hatfield Remand Court on Friday, July 6, and pleaded not guilty. He was remanded in custody to await trial.”

Police have issued the following tips to help keep your vehicle and belongings safe:

To help prevent theft from your vehicle

• Never leave valuables on display

• Never leave tools in your van unless they are secured in an approved tool safe

• Fit good quality approved additional external locks to van doors

• Engrave or mark tools and their boxes with your postcode and house number

• Use an approved steering lock or gear clamp, and remember to set your immobiliser and alarm if you have one.

• If away from home consider parking your vehicle in a ‘park mark’ approved car park – details at www.parkmark.co.uk.

To help prevent your vehicle being stolen

• Never hand vehicle keys over to a third party or leave the vehicle unattended at a valet parking, car wash or other parking places, where criminals can gain access to the vehicle and code a key electronically.

• Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code a key from the vehicle.

• Consider fitting a dual band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS, to make it more difficult for the tracking signal being blocked.

• Criminals can also employ remote/keyless entry jamming equipment so make sure your car is locked by trying the door before leaving it.

• Ensure that ‘home’ on your vehicle sat nav is shown as the post code of your local police station and not your actual home address.

• Use an approved steering wheel lock and never leave your vehicle unlocked – even for a moment

• Herts police recommend products that are ‘sold secure’ or ‘secured by design’ see www.soldsecure.com and www.securedbydesign.com for details.

More advice on how to make your vehicle safe is available at www.herts.police.uk/protectyourproperty.

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