By RAM Tracking on 8 Nov 2017

Is Vehicle Theft Really At Its Lowest?

It is reported that UK car crime is at its lowest in the last 50 years. This should be great news; however, the significant drop in the number of offenders forcing locks and breaking windows to steal vehicles comes with a dramatic rise in criminals using an electronic key, due to the easy availability of computer software that gives thieves an easy way to steal a vehicle by just cloning the vehicle's electronic key and drive off.

That being said, break-and-entry vehicle thefts remain a major issue in cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and London and, despite the prevalence of equipment and vehicle theft, fleet managers face significant challenges when trying to protect business assets and fleet vehicles.

However, there are preventive measures you can take to help reduce the chances that your fleet will fall victim to theft, or make the recovery of the stolen vehicle more effective.

1. Replace Vulnerable Locks

Modern vehicle thieves use lock picks and lock jammers to break into a vehicle, especially LVCs (Light Commercial Vehicles). There is a wide range of lock picks available for all kinds of vehicles. As for lock-jammer devices, they prevent drivers from locking their vehicle, as soon as they get out of it. The thief sends out an electronic signal that is stronger than the signal the driver sends to the vehicle and while the driver thinks that he has secured the car (most drivers do not look behind to check whether their vehicle is indeed locked), the thief has actually tricked them into leaving it unlocked.   

To prevent this, it is best to replace vulnerable locks with anti-pick replacement cylinders and look for accredited slam locks that lock the car automatically when the doors are shut. You may also consider adding extra locks to protect tools and equipment. Slamplates that replace vulnerable manufacturer's van handles will also help with vehicle protection. 

2. Protect The Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are easy prey for offenders that remove them in a heartbeat and cash in on them quickly. The valuable metals they contain (i.e. gold or platinum) make them particularly appealing to opportunistic thieves. Besides parking the vehicle in well-lit areas or a secure garage when not in use, you can also have the catalytic converter welded to the vehicle frame and/or look for security devices that attach to the converter to make it more difficult to remove.

Installing a CATLOC security system can also help protect your catalytic converter while calibrating your vehicle's security system (if the vehicle has one) so vibrations set it off to activate the alarm if a thief tries to steal the catalytic converter is also a good extra precaution tactic.

3. Protect your Vehicle's Onboard Diagnostics (OBD)

Most vans use OBD. Criminals simply plug a code reader device or laptop into the OBD port and, in no more than 2 minutes, clone the wireless key fob.  Fitting an OBD protection device can prevent offenders from plugging in, overriding the vehicle's immobilisation system, and driving off.

4. Use a GPS vehicle tracking

GPS trackers are excellent anti-theft devices and powerful theft deterrents that help you quickly recover your stolen vehicle and equipment. With minute-by-minute location tracking when the vehicle is in use and features, such as alerts for unauthorised use, you get yourself an extra line of defense against vehicle theft - kind of like an auto protect. Although professional offenders will probably know how to find and remove a GPS, most opportunist thieves will not if they decide to drive off with your vehicle. So, having a trusted, cloud-based (so you can have access from any device) GPS vehicle tracker will allow you to track the vehicle's whereabouts and notify the police accordingly.

Extra Precautions:

  • Do not leave the vehicle in under-lit areas or running while you complete a service call, even if it will only take you a couple of minutes.
  • Keep spare keys someplace safe; not in the vehicle.
  • Always secure your doors and windows.
  • Hide valuable equipment.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest theft techniques.
  • Know your vehicles' security vulnerabilities.

Simple tactics like the ones mentioned above can really go a long way protecting your fleet against vehicle theft.

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