Shortage of new parts could increase car thefts
A lack of legitimate car parts could boost the ‘chop-shop’ market further and increase organised crime.
While police across the country are already fighting an increase in chop shops – where stolen vehicles are stripped down and expensive parts sold on – Tracker has warned that a shortage of new parts, due to the shutdown of manufacturer supply chains, could increase their popularity and profitability still further.
Cars stolen by chop shops tend to be left for up to four days to check they are not being tracked, before being taken to the garage where their identities are changed, and high-value parts are removed for re-sale.
The practice tends to target premium, new and collectible vehicles, but no car is immune; a VW Polo valued at less than £600 was recently recovered by Tracker.
Clive Wain, head of police liaison at Tracker, said: “Sadly, whilst we are seeing many positives come out of the current crisis – such as communities pulling together and environmental benefits – we could in the coming weeks and months see criminals take advantage of new opportunities.
“With movement so restricted, most of us are using our cars far less frequently, so it is easy to get out of the habit of checking doors are locked and keys are secured after those rare essential journeys. It’s even easier to forget these good habits after popping out to the car to collect something you left behind. 92% of the vehicles we recovered last year were stolen without the thief having possession of the vehicle’s keys.”
Tracker tips include taking extra care to fully secure vehicles and keeping remote locking keys as far away from the car as possible, and in a closed tin so that they are protected against relay-attacks.
Other advice includes installing physical barriers such a security posts or a gate for vehicle parked on drives to make vehicles harder to steal, and using security lighting and a steering wheel lock.