Is enough being done to stop theft from your vehicle?

Post by
Chris Hall

Our vehicles were broken into

In the past 12 months members of our team have suffered 2 separate, unrelated break-ins to vehicles whist parked in allegedly secure public car parks. On each occasion the equipment stolen ran into many £000s. 

Now, I know what you are going to say…it’s our own fault for leaving equipment inside. Whilst that is partially true, and was “lessons have been learnt” on each occasion there was good reason for at least some of that equipment being inside for a limited time. Further, on both occasions, the kit was in locked compartments out of sight.

The vehicles (one car, one van) were both parked in supposedly secure, manned car parks monitored by multiple CCTV cameras. However, astonishing as it may sound, at a designated van park by Excel London  CCTV was “not working”, and at NCP, Carrington Street, Mayfair  “it was not monitoring the area where your car was parked” and at both locations “no attendant saw or heard anything” - despite alarms sounding on both vehicles. In the case of In the case of NCP, there was glass from the smashed rear screen strewn all over the car park surface behind the car, facing out to the driving route, and in clear view. Yet this was “not noticed” during routine patrols that security apparently undertook. No other vehicles in the vicinity were affected - make of that what you will.

I checked crime reports today. There have been 16 reported vehicle crimes in that street alone in period May-Aug 2019. It is not clear how many were inside the car park - but the street itself is very small. As far as I can tell, not 1 has been solved. In our case, the Police closed the case within 24 hours as “there was very little chance of a successful outcome”.

So, criminals feel that they can steal from you with virtually no risk of being caught.

One of the biggest types of theft is apparently devices that have bluetooth capability. Thieves use sophisticated scanning equipment that is available for a pittance from the usual online retailers to identify signals being transmitted. I’m told that they are accurate to within a few feet. It is not enough to have your device in sleep mode, as the signal is still emitted.

So, please don’t rely on “secure” car parks - they won’t help you win times of need. They are not interested in providing footage, even if they have it, and they don’t appear to want to do anything to improve security. The Police cannot or will not show any interest whatsoever, and simply send you a crime reference number and immediately close the case. They tell you to claim on insurance. Thus everyone pays more for insurance. Oh, and the insurance companies in many cases will not cover you, as it is classed as “theft from an unattended vehicle” - many exclude cover or limit cover by time or value. If you report the incident, and even if you are not covered, your premium may well rise, as you could be perceived as being more of a risk!

Now as a routine, we search for information on car parks before we use them. I would urge you to do the same, and particularly to highlight instances where you have been affected. Maybe, if enough people make a stand, the car park owners will be forced to take notice - I wouldn’t hold my breath though. Perhaps if they charge for using the facility, they should have more of a duty of care under law. Meanwhile, we are boycotting the worst wherever possible, and when there is knowledge out there.

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