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1 May 2007

Smashing bank holiday for Sat Nav Thieves

As motorists prepare to hit the roads this bank holiday weekend, windscreen repair and replacement specialist, Autoglass , is warning motorists to maintain security when they are out and about in their cars. The black market for stolen gadgets such as sat-navs is worth millions and this can be profitable time of year for opportunist thieves looking to smash and grab from cars parked up while their owners are enjoying a day trip or mini-break.

While break-ins are nothing new, the growing popularity of high priced gadgets is proving an irresistible temptation for thieves looking to make a quick fifty pounds. During the first quarter of 2007, Autoglass replaced 7% more side windows than the same period last year. According to Autoglass reseach, nearly half of recent victims of car crime had gadgets including sat-navs, laptops, stereos, mp3 players and mobile phones taken from their vehicle, a 100% increase on the previous year (how did you calculate the 100% figure?).

Autoglass advises never to leave valuables on view, under seats or in glove boxes as these are the first places a criminal will check, even if a car is unattended for as little as a few minutes. Motorists are being urged to get into the habit of removing sat-nav systems and other gadgets every time they leave the vehicle and make sure they wipe off any sat-nav sucker marks from the windscreen as these are a tell tale mark of hidden in-car treasures.

Nigel Doggett, managing director at Autoglass said: “Bank Holidays are always a great time to get away and enjoy the warmer weather, yet motorists are often caught out by slapdash security. Thieves know that when people park up to enjoy a day out, for example at a theme park or out in the countryside for a walk, they are likely to be away from their cars for a few hours. According to our research, a typical break-in costs an average of £646, so making a few quick security checks is a small price to pay to avoid a costly bill. And with one third of sat-nav owners admitting to leaving the cradle on display, and one in 10 leaving the whole system out for everyone to see when they park – effectively an open invitation to a thief – we just want to remind drivers of the importance of storing items safely and ensuring their vehicle is locked.”

The Autoglass advice is echoed by PC Tim Clarke at the Metropolitan police. “Theft from cars is a growing problem across the country and we are working hard one that we are working hard to combat. Cars left unattended on day trips can prove temping for criminals and motorists can help fight car crime and outwit opportunist thieves by being extra vigilant and removing all gadgets when their car is left unattended. In addition, we ask owners to mark high value items with a security marker, so that if stolen, they can be more easily returned”.

 

Autoglass has put together the following top tips to reduce the risks of a break in:


• Make sure you shut all windows and lock all doors, no matter how warm the weather


• If possible, park in a location where in clear public view and not obscured from sight


• Include a reference to sat nav removal and wiping sucker marks off screen


• If parking at night, try to park in a well lit area


• Check the area before leaving your vehicle. Is there anyone suspicious waiting nearby in a car?


• Wherever possible, do not leave anything in your vehicle, including the boot


• Make sure you do not leave anything in view when you leave your vehicle


• If you have a removable audio system, take it with you


• Make sure you do not leave documents showing your address in your vehicle – or you could find not only your car but your home targeted by thieves


• When planning a bank holiday trip, try to only take what you really need. That way you won’t have to leave anything in your vehicle


Autoglass is committed to keeping motorists, their cars and belongings safe. If you are a victim of car crime over the bank holiday, Autoglass can safely repair or replace every kind of vehicle glass 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company provides a national windscreens and other body glass service, phone free on 0800 36 36 36 to arrange an appointment.

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