Message from the Chief Commissioner

Crime Prevention & Community Safety

Prevention of motor vehicle theft

Release date: Thu 29 March 2007

Last updated: Mon 25 February 2013

Theft from car

There are two types of car thieves: the opportunist and the professional. What they have in common though is that they can steal a car in less than a minute.

The opportunist
The opportunist is a person who may see your car as a means of transport, a joy ride, or to use in committing another type of crime. Often, when a car has been stolen by an opportunist and is recovered, it is returned to the owner in a damaged condition.

Professional car thieves
Professional car thieves are motivated differently, stealing cars for profit. They are normally well organised, work in teams and are either after specific car parts or intend to change your car's identity, to resell it later.

If your car is stolen

  • Report it to police immediately.
  • Give police the registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle.
  • Notify police of the location and time of disappearance.
  • Notify your insurance company immediately.

Tips to help you prevent vehicle theft

Cars get stolen all the time so you can never guarantee it will not happen to you.
Here are some tips to help prevent would-be thieves.

  • Never leave keys in the ignition when your vehicle is unattended.
  • Close all windows and lock all doors before leaving your car unattended.
  • Lock your car when paying for fuel.
  • Do not leave valuables within view, lock them in the boot or take them with you.
  • Do not leave registration papers, driver's licence or other papers or cards in an unattended car - this could advise a thief that the home address of the owner is unattended at the time.
  • Do not have your personal address on tags attached to car keys.
  • Do not hide spare car keys anywhere on the car.

Theft from your car

Belongings being stolen from cars is arguably one of the most under reported crimes within our community. Victims of this crime invariably:

  • Are not insured to cover the loss or have an excess attached to their policy which exceeds the value of the loss.
  • Refuse to lose their no claim bonus by claiming for their loss.

Tips to help you prevent theft from your car

  • Engrave or mark your accessories and valuables with the letter 'V' and your driver's licence number.
  • When leaving your valuables in a car do not hide them upon arrival as thieves could be monitoring the car park. Instead place handbags out of sight prior to parking.
  • Do not leave loose change within view, thieves will do hundreds of dollars of damage to steal small amounts of money.

Theft of number plates

Victoria Police, with Neighbourhood Watch and numerous corporate and community partners, will be providing Victorians the opportunity of securing their vehicle number plates with safety screws.

The principle of the 'one way' screws is that once applied they require a special tool to undo or remove them. It is hoped that such positive measures will see a reduction in the number of number plate thefts.

To find out where you can have one-way screws fitted to your car, contact your local Crime Prevention Officer or Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator.

Products available to help prevent car theft

There are a number of products you can install in your car to help prevent car theft. While you can never completely eliminate car theft, taking these measures can help to deter would-be thieves.

  • Alarm systems
  • Bonnet locks
  • Door locks
  • Immobilisers
  • Starter ignition fuel system
  • Ignition shields
  • Parking barriers
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Transmission locks
  • Vehicle monitoring and tracking devices
  • Wheel clamps
  • Window etching

To conduct a safety assessment of your car visit the Virtual Tours page by visiting the Neighbourhood Watch link on the right side of this page.

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