Hertfordshire Constabulary is urging drivers to make sure they keep their vehicles secure this spring following increases in motor vehicle crime.
Thefts from motor vehicles increased 20 per cent in March (up 59 from 302 in March 2020).
Theft of catalytic converters has also risen with over 700 offences in the last six months (1 October 2020 – 31 March 2021) compared with 454 in the same period in 2019/20.
However, in the last two weeks there has been a significant drop in the number of offences reported apart from in the Stevenage, North Herts and Dacorum areas.
Keyless thefts of vehicles also continue to be an issue.
Devices can also be used to clone key fobs if a criminal manages to get access to a fob.
There have also been several reports of a scam targeting vehicles being sold privately, where criminals arrive to view the vehicle and switch the key fobs with a replica. They then return at a later time and steal the vehicle using the stolen fob.
Inspector Nicola Dean from the Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit said: “Most types of crime have remained low during the last year, but criminals have been targeting vehicles, either for items inside the vehicles or their catalytic converters, which they sell for the precious metals used to build the units.
“The criminals have been especially targeting hybrid models of Toyota and Honda brands so I would advise owners of these types of vehicles to get their catalytic converters security marked and invest in a catloc device to deter thieves.
“We have also had an increase in the theft of keyless entry vehicles, with thieves using electronic devices to boost the signal from the vehicle’s keyless fob. If the key is close enough to the vehicle, even if it is inside the home, the device can detect the fob signal and use it to open and start it. There’s a number of steps you can take to prevent this but one of the most effective deterrents is an old-fashioned steering wheel lock.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary has teamed up with garages around the county to offer free catalytic converter security marking.
Details of the garages taking part in the security marking scheme can be found at herts.police.uk/operationfeline. The marking takes around two hours.