Tips And Advice

Car thieves turn to physical violence and threats

Tracker warns drivers to let the technology be the hero rather than putting themselves at risk to protect their vehicles

Tracker Network (UK) is warning drivers not to put themselves in danger by confronting criminals, as local media report of increasing numbers of violent car thefts and gangs insisting on money to return vehicles. Demand for used cars and car parts has increased significantly due to issues with the automotive supply chain, and criminals are willing to go further to meet the shortfall.

“It appears that thieves are going to any lengths to get their hands on the car or parts they want, putting the public in real danger,” Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker said. “If someone sees their property being stolen or damaged the instinct is to step in and protect it, but when an armed criminal is desperate to secure that vehicle, the owner could be seriously injured, or worse, if they try to intervene. The increase in trends such as car cannibalisation could also put drivers at risk if thieves want to steal parts from their cars and go to any length necessary.

“The key thing to remember here is that drivers don’t need to be heroes; they can rely on technology to protect their vehicle safely. Installing a Tracker device on a car won’t stop it from being stolen, however, the thieves will be unaware the vehicle can be tracked by the police, increasing the likelihood of it being quickly located and returned to its rightful owner. This is vital in stopping criminals from quickly selling on stolen vehicles or stripping them for valuable parts in chop shops.”

2022 saw Tracker work in partnership with the U.K. police service to locate and shut down a record number of ‘chop shops’. These illegal workshops are used by criminals to dismantle stolen cars for their parts, which are then sold on lucratively. However, the first six months of 2023 has seen the increase in chop shops accelerate significantly, with a total of 34 workshops closed between January and June this year. This is more than double the number uncovered and closed by Tracker and the police in the same period last year.  

Clive Wain continued: “High value prestige vehicles are at highest risk of being stolen because they, and their parts, are worth more to the thieves. However, because of a shortage of new parts demand for vehicles of all types, sizes and values means no vehicle is safe from the risk of theft. Physical deterrents and protections such as immobilisers, alarms and steering locks may put off some thieves, but the professional, determined ones will get past them in seconds. A Tracker device features the best technology to track a vehicle wherever criminals take it once it is stolen.”

Tracker’s SVR solutions work like an electronic homing device, with a covert transmitter hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. As there is no visible aerial the thief won’t know it’s there, meaning they will lead the local police right to their location. Many trackers use only GPS signals to track vehicles, but GPS solutions struggle to get picked up from the likes of underground car parks and shipping containers, both commonly used to hide stolen vehicles. A combination of VHF with GPS/GSM technology, unique to Tracker, confirms Tracker SVR devices as a superior security defence against determined thieves.

Tracker is the only SVR provider offering vehicle tracking systems that are supported nationwide by UK police services who track, locate and recovery stolen assets using Tracker’s unique technology. More than 2,000 police patrol vehicles and all police helicopters are fitted with Tracker detection units, which has led to the Police successfully recovering thousands of stolen vehicles fitted with a Tracker along with thousands more un-tracked vehicles found at the same location.

Tracker’s top tips for vehicle security

  • Protect your key fob: Keyless car theft works through a relay-style electronic device tricking your key fob signal into thinking the key is near to the car and then the device can assume all key fob power. To prevent this, keep the key – and the spare too - away from where the vehicle is kept when not in used, and block the signal by keeping the key fob in a closed tin or faraday bag.
  • Switch off and lock up: Never leave your car running idle and unattended, even when defrosting windscreens and windows on a cold morning.
  • Make life difficult: Fit security posts or a substantial gate if parking on your drive, physical barriers will make thieves think twice.
  • Don’t advertise your stuff: Never leave your belongings on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you.
  • Keep paperwork indoors – Don’t store car documents or spare keys inside the car as it makes it easier for thieves to sell it on.
  • Plan for the worst: Take car security measures to protect your car from being stolen in the first place, such as installing security lighting where you park your car and using a steering wheel lock. If criminals find a way to steal your car, having a vehicle tracker fitted can help the authorities to recover your vehicle.