The motor industry publishes advice to help drivers secure their cars and beat the thieves

Published 8 September 2016

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), government, police and insurance bodies have joined forces to understand the nature of modern day car theft and develop solutions to tackle it. To help car owners avoid becoming a victim of car theft, new advice has been published by the SMMT.

Cars are more secure than ever before, with manufacturers continually working on new security features. Investment in new technology means that all new cars sold in the UK now have an immobiliser and many are fitted with an alarm and double locking as standard.

While car theft has fallen significantly since the mid 1990’s, the latest police figures show that reported car theft incidents rose by 8% in the year to March 2016. To help tackle this, the SMMT, government, police and insurance bodies have joined forces to develop car crime prevention solutions, and are encouraging car owners to follow the 10 easy ways to safeguard their car.

Sarah Newton, Minister for Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Countering Extremism, said,

“With thefts significantly lower than they were 20 years ago and manufacturers using the latest technology to make our cars safer than ever, the public would be forgiven for putting vehicle crime to the back of their minds. But the recent rise in the number of reported crimes is a reminder that determined thieves are still out there and we should remain vigilant.

“Following a key commitment in our Modern Crime Prevention Strategy the government has been working with police and industry to look at the methods being used by criminals to steal vehicles and how to stop them. I welcome the advice being delivered as part of the SMMT’s campaign to inform vehicle owners about the hidden dangers and the steps they can take to secure their vehicles.”

10 Easy ways to safeguard your car

  1. Think about who you leave your vehicle keys with. Treat them as you do your house keys - do you know the person you are leaving your keys with? Do you trust them?

  2. Check who you are leaving your vehicle keys with. Where possible, check that a company you entrust your vehicle keys to is a member of an accredited code of practice or other professional standard such as Motor Codes (; the British Parking Association’s Park Mark scheme (; or the Car Wash Advisory Service’s WashMark initiative ( This will give you greater peace of mind.

  3. Think about where you park your vehicle - is it in a safe place? Well-lit and well-populated areas or car parks with security features such as CCTV, manned barriers or gated entry will give you greater peace of mind.

  4. Check that your vehicle is locked before leaving it. Listen for the locking noise, watch for the lights to flash or mirrors to fold, or simply pull the door handle. It might sound unnecessary, but thieves can sometimes block the signal between your key fob and your vehicle: so although you’ve pushed the button, it may not have locked the vehicle.

  5. Think about where you leave your spare key. Don’t leave it in your vehicle. Know how many spares you have and where they are kept.

  6. Check that you haven't left valuables on display in your vehicle. We all know that this can attract opportunist thieves.

  7. Check that the vehicle windows are closed, even if you are only leaving it for a few minutes. Open windows make it all the easier for thieves to gain access.

  8. Think about where you keep your keys at home. Keep them well away from the door or windows and out of sight. For additional security for electronic key entry systems, you may wish to consider storing them in a tin container to block any attempt by thieves to hack into the electronic signal between the key fob and your vehicle.

  9. Check that your alarm or immobiliser is enabled when you leave your car. A simple check could save considerable expense and inconvenience later.

  10. Check whether your vehicle has an alarm or immobiliser. If it doesn't, think about buying an aftermarket alarm, steering wheel lock or other locking device. These are proven to deter thieves.

The SMMT will be publishing information about keyless theft throughout today and over the coming weeks from its Twitter account to help owners secure their cars to help beat the thieves. Keep an eye out for the posts which will provide crime prevention advice and don’t forget to share them.

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