Far too many classic car enthusiasts are waking up in the morning to discover their pride and joy gone with the wind. Whether the vehicle is a Land Rover Defender, Ford Cortina, Volkswagen T25 Transporter or something else entirely, all owners must attempt to make preventative arrangements to deter thieves.
Over 117,000 vehicles are stolen in the United Kingdom every year, with under 50% of those ever being recovered. Worse yet, figures suggest that 59,000 of these are lost entirely, with around 30,000 never even investigated by police forces. In 2013, a quarter of reported vehicle thefts were not even attended via police due to limit resources.
This will become a regular feature, where Motor Hipster will focus on different ways to ensure that you won’t become another victim of the classic car magpie.
#1 Online Safety.
Everyone knows that the classic car scene is a close-knit community where everyone loves to flaunt what they’ve got. Who wouldn’t want to share the adventure of their latest project and show off those final edits of the photo shoot in the countryside? By all means, do continue; but not without these simple precautions.
1 – Never name your exact location.
Whichever forum you frequent will have a location bar. Leave this blank, or at the very least place a humorous alternative in its place. The reason being that scoundrels and thieves frequent these boards, sizing up their prey to steal for order. Surely it’s no coincidence that a number of the same vehicles disappear around a short time period, often in similar locations. Car thieves are less likely to locate your Lotus if you claim to live in Gallifrey.
2 – Edit pictures carefully.
Now is the time to show off your finished project to the world, let the picture whoring begin! Maybe it’s also time to sell and placing images straight from your digital camera seems to be the ideal time saving option. Wrong! Always scrub out your registration and try not to include your home in the background. If the latter is unavoidable, then be sure to edit out any nearby registrations, street names and door numbers.
Thieves can and will use this information in detective fashion, tracking down the location via Google Street View. Take this for instance, straight from CarandClassic.co.uk.
From this, we know the registration of the vehicle and the type of house which it may be located at. Along with the town name in the advert, a simple Google search of the area may prove simpler than it appears.
3 – ID!
The time has come to wave goodbye to your current project, for whatever circumstances. The vehicle is now listed for sale online, and someone has answered the call to view the vehicle. Just who is this stranger in the night? A genuine buyer? A tyre kicker? Or something more sinister? Whatever the circumstances, always ask a viewer for photo ID and grab a copy to retain. This is perfectly within your rights and could act as evidence if your vehicle happened to go walkabouts that night. Warn viewers of your intentions prior to their arrival, so they know what to expect. After a brief explanation and reassurance that it will remain confidential, no decent citizen should refuse.
These three tips will go a long way to preventing car crime, along with future features focusing on different aspects of crime prevention.
by Mike Armstrong