White Van-ish Man
Recently released police figures show that Britain's most stolen vehicle is White Van Man's favourite the Ford Transit - most likely because the thieves are looking to grab hold of tools and other working equipment left inside the van as well as keeping the scrap metal parts industry going.
The list of 'most stolen vehicles' may be surprising to read, especially considering the 'ordinariness' of the vehicles on it. Most drivers would consider the higher end such as Porsche and other sportier and faster cars and, as DCI Mark Hooper, Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (thankfully shortened to AVCIS), says "Nearly all serious crime involves a vehicle in some way, whether it is used as transportation, as a weapon, as collateral, or as the main target of crime itself. Anyone can be a target and it's important to know how to reduce your vulnerability."
So, to the list, and remember; the majority of the vehicles on it would also appear in a Top 10 best sellers list and thus make up the majority of vans and cars on Britain's roads. So as a "number stolen" list, they are almost bound to be in here. Perhaps, as a ratio of 'number stolen' to 'on road' they wouldn't be, but that's not the figures we are playing with or that have been released.
The Top 10 most stolen vehicles in the first Quarter of 2011 are:
- Ford Transit
- Vauxhall Astra
- Ford Fiesta
- VW Golf
- Vauxhall Corsa
- BMW 3 Series
- Ford Focus
- Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
- Ford Mondeo
- Honda Civic
Not good reading for Ford with 4 on the list but as I said, these are some of the best sellers in the country too!
Other statistic released by AVCIS make interesting reading too.
40% of car drivers in the UK have been victims of car crime, especially if you live in the four 'hot-spot' car-crime areas named as Chislehurst in South-East London, Wingate in Durham, Redbridge in East London and Hatfield in Doncaster, and there is only a 51% chance of recovering a stolen vehicle, especially as, in all likelihood, it has been broken down, parts sold on the internet and scrap sold to a metal dealer.
Doesn't sound too good, does it? Especially if, like me, you drive one of those cars or vans on that list. But there are ways you can try and protect yourself against this type of crime.
- Don't leave keys in the vehicle at any time; when de-icing, paying for petrol, popping in the shop for a paper...
- Don't leave keys on view at all at home as offenders now 'fish' through letterboxes, cat flaps and windows using a hook and cane (or a magnet). And that includes spare keys too!
- Make sure that your home is secure at all times, including all conservatories or garages. Lock all side and garden gates as well.
- Make sure you lock the car when you get out of it. (I know it's obvious but you'd be surprised by the number of times you'll forget)
- Check whether any existing locks on your vehicle or home have already been tried. And try them yourself. If they are easy susceptible to any tampering, change them!
- If you have a garage, use it. If you have driveway gates, use them too. And lock them.
- Criminals often patrol areas looking for future victims. If you think you are being followed, or see a car acting suspiciously, take the registration number and report it to the police.
And don't just leave stuff on view either, because if the vehicle doesn't go, the stuff might. Criminals don't all take notice of the "Nothing of any value left overnight in this vehicle" sticker in the back window, just as "Baby On Board" doesn't make other drivers drive with more consideration.