Police Issue Advice Following Surge In Vehicle Thefts

Tue 2nd Aug 2022

The global supply chain issues for cars has had a worrying knock-on effect on the automotive industry with one of the UK’s leading police forces revealing that recorded vehicle theft offences have risen by a third year-on-year.

A surge in the demand for car parts has played a key role in the crimewave, with many stolen vehicles ending up in ‘chop shops’ and stripped for parts. West Midlands police have made a series of raids on industrial units this summer and found a number of illegal chop shops which had been hiding cars which appear to have been stolen to order. A raid in February found 22 stolen cars, including one vehicle which had been stolen at knifepoint.

“Vehicle theft has increased by a third in the last year, driven by a global shortage of car parts, and we suspect many cars end up in chop shops where they are dismantled for parts,” a spokesperson for West Midlands police said. “We’re urging people to support our car crime campaign by reporting any suspicious behaviour at garages or industrial units that could indicate they’re acting as chop shops.

"Vehicle crime is currently one of the top priorities for the force."

While West Midlands Police are one of many forces across the UK to dedicate special units and resources to fighting the rise in car crime, they have also launched a campaign to help drivers keep their vehicles safe.


  • Make sure ‘your fob has done the job’, and that passengers haven’t left a window or door open, even slightly.

  • Consider using a Sold Secure tested and approved steering wheel lock that ideally provides full coverage of the wheel.

  • To protect your passive entry vehicle against a relay attack go to the Secured By Design website to search for products using key word search ‘shielding for car keys’. Remember your spare keys as well.

  • Check with your main dealer that - regardless of the age of the vehicle - it has had all its recalls completed and software and firmware updated.

  • Check with your main dealer what latest security measures can be retrofitted to older vehicles. This can cost less than the excess on your insurance, in the event of a claim.

  • Explore what aftermarket security products are available from third parties. You can search for these on the Thatcham, Secured By Design and Sold Secure websites.

  • Some vehicles have tracking as standard nowadays, but you can install an approved aftermarket vehicle tracker, search Thatcham’s website for independently tested products.

  • Keep full control of your keys. Valet parking, car washes, and even some garages have been found to copy keys.

  • Don’t leave anything visible in the vehicle. Sat navs / dash cams, loose change, and bags are all attractive to thieves.

  • When parking, always choose a well-lit location with natural or electronic surveillance. Use a car park, whenever possible, which has been awarded the ‘Park Mark’.

  • At home, if you have a garage, use it. Consider installing security lights or CCTV to improve the deterrent.

  • Think where you leave your keys when at home. Do not leave keys close to the front door however easy it may be. Never take them to bed with you either.