STAFFORDSHIRE Police is to roll out a series of high-tech devices to car owners who are at higher risk of having their houses broken into and the keys to luxury cars stolen.
Although the recorded figures for car key burglaries are falling, the likes of Audis, BMWs and Mercedes continue to be stolen through them. Statistics also show that this offence is typically committed by criminals travelling into Staffordshire from neighbouring police areas to offend.
Last year, a joint investigation between West Midlands and Staffordshire Police forces culminated in the imprisonment of 13 West Midlands offenders for their involvement in car key burglaries of cars in Staffordshire worth a total of £1.5 million. Staffordshire Police is supported in tackling cross-county criminality by the Central Motorway Police Group, as are fellow members West Mercia and West Midlands Police forces.
There were 86 car key burglaries between September 2013 and August 2014 in Staffordshire (11 in the north, 75 in the south) compared to 112 during the same period a year earlier (north: 20; south: 92).
Superintendent Ian Coxhead, the force’s head of local policing across the south of Staffordshire said: “It is well-known that many high-performance vehicles are extremely hard to start up without the keys. This is why thieves either break into houses to get the keys or attempt keyless thefts by bypassing the ignition.
“In addition to issuing these devices, we are continuing to ask owners to take preventative measures, such as not leaving doors or windows open or unlocked, and to avoid leaving keys in visible or obvious places – therefore making them much harder to steal.
It is always best, if possible, to keep cars in a garage or to keep them behind secure gates.”
There were 16 keyless thefts of luxury vehicles and four attempts between 1 May and 7 July 2014, plus a further 6 offences committed up to the end of July 2014. Those were made up of 12 BMWs, seven Audis, four Land Rovers, a Jeep, a Mercedes and a Ford Focus RS.
A number of car manufacturers have revamped the security systems on their high-end vehicles and Staffordshire Police is advising owners to contact their manufacturers to ensure they have accessed all of the measures available to them.
Supt. Coxhead added: “We would appreciate the public to remain vigilant regarding vehicles that may be scouting neighbourhoods looking for cars to target and to notify us of suspicious activity by calling 101.”
These measures are part of Operation Impact, Staffordshire Police’s ongoing initiative to tackle burglary, theft and robbery.
Click here for crime prevention advice from Staffordshire Police and search for #OpImpact on Twitter.