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New Types Of Theft From Motor Cars

Sep 2, 2008
The changing economic climate is changing criminal behaviour int the car crime arena. Previously it was the theft of the car or stereo that was of concern but , as security devices made these too difficult attention switched to easily stolen items such as satnavs.These too have dropped so much in price as to be worth little on the black market.

Two new types of theft from vehicles have recently arrived in the U.K. The first, triggered by the rise in fuel costs and tightening of legislation governing the supply is car number plates. New legislation has made it very difficult for criminals to obtain false number plates but the rise in the price of fuel has created a demand for them. They are normally used in the theft of fuel from garages by driving off without paying after filling the tank. CCTV footage is rendered useless by the false number plates and the criminals are rarely caught.

The second, most recent offense is the theft of vehicle catalytic converters. The booming economy is the far east is causing shortage of many things, the latest being platinum, it is currently worth twice the price of gold. Catalytic converters use platinum amongst other precious metals to filter out toxic gases from exhaust fumes and so a black market for stolen cats has appeared. There seems to be hot spots around the country where these thefts are prevalent for example 108 have been stolen in North Gloucestershire this year. High ground clearance vehicles such as vans and four by fours are most at risk as the thieves do not need to jack up the vehicle.

What can be done to combat these new threats? Well in the case of number plates theft, although there are plates which self destruct when an attempt is made to remove them they will mean buying new plates, if your plates are screwed to the car and not stuck on you can replace the normal screws with anti tamper ones for very little cost. If you do become the victim of number plate theft, report it immediately as there will probably be a crime committed in a car with your registration number on in the near future.

Trying to deter cat theft is more difficult, aside from parking the vehicle in the garage ( not always possible with vans and 4 X 4 s ) the only other thing you can do is have the nuts which secure the cat in place welded which will make removal more noisy. Instead of being able to use spanners the thief will have to cut the pipe to remove the converter. One wonders what will be next target, it is perhaps surprising that tires have not rocketed in price off the back of oil prices making them a stealable item.
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