Vehicle crime - protect yourself


This article has been reproduced from the Metropolitan Police website for the purpose of education

Did you know that...

  • Most vehicle crime is preventable. It can take as little as 10 seconds for a thief to steal something from your car. If at all possible, leave nothing on view.
  • NEVER leave valuable items in your car, including sunglasses, the removable radio cover and your Sat Nav. Do you really need all those things you keep in the glove box?
  • Wipe away the Sat Nav mark on your windscreen.
  • Consider fitting anti-tamper screws to your number plate or shattering plates.
  • Never leave your car keys where they can be seen from the front door.

Vehicle common sense


  • Close the windows and sunroof; lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car unattended.
  • Park with care, particularly at night or if you are leaving the vehicle for a long time. If possible, park in a busy, well-lit area.


  • Leave cash, credit cards, chequebook, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car.
  • Never leave your keys in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards.

Buying a used car - Be prepared!


  • Ask to see proof of the seller's identity and address - an official letter or driving licence, for example.
  • Make sure the car's VIN matches that on the registration document (V5) - The VIN, formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer and can be found:
    • Stamped on the body chassis or frame.
    • On a manufacturer's VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors.
    • On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen - this is called a visible VIN.


  • Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details.
  • Buy a car without the registration document (V5) - make sure it has a DVLA watermark and has not been altered in any way.

Check it out

  • If in doubt, ask the AA, RAC or another reputable organisation to inspect the car before agreeing to buy.
  • You can check the car's history and second-hand status by calling Equifax HPI on 01722 422 422.


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