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Top tips for fleet drivers on avoiding car-jacking

Vehicle protection specialist AX has developed a list of tips for company car drivers and fleets to avoid common car-jacking tactics as it warns of an upsurge in the crime.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX and a former detective inspector for West Midlands Police

The company – previously known as Accident Exchange until its rebrand at the start of the year and including the former APU fraud investigation division – says that the recent rise in car thefts in Britain could be due to a rise in car-jackings.

According to recently announced Home Office figures, vehicle theft is at a 10-year high, with keyless systems vulnerable to hacking suspected of being responsible.

However, experts at AX say the increase is also strongly correlated with the wave of car-jackings across the country, with some areas including the Midlands apparently affected more than elsewhere.

Social and traditional media reports together with intelligence coming through AX operatives also point to new car-jacking tactics being used, with tricks ranging from the thieves placing something that looks like an injured animal in the road and stealing the car when the driver gets out to investigate, to simply leaving a leaflet on the vehicle  windscreen and taking the car once the driver gets out to remove it.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX and a former detective inspector for West Midlands Police, said: “In my experience criminals are often unimaginative and sometimes the tactics go no further than simply dragging people out of nice cars.

“However, as vehicle thefts rise, we’ve noticed new methods being used that are much sneakier than using physical violence alone. We urge drivers to remain vigilant and, most importantly, if you are threatened with violence, give up your car – your life is far more valuable than any vehicle.”

Neil Thomas has also revealed the top tips that motorists can use to safeguard themselves against car-jacking criminals.

  1. Remain vigilant and trust your instinct

It may sound obvious but try to remain vigilant when driving, parking or returning to your car- most people say they had a feeling that something just ‘seemed wrong’ before they were attacked. Don’t ignore your senses, as they are often right.

  1. Walk around your car before starting up

As you approach your car in the car park, try to have a quick check around it – thieves sometimes push door mirrors in the hope you will start the car and then get out to move them back into place, leaving the engine running.

  1. Don’t remotely unlock your car from a distance

In a busy supermarket car park, when you have heavy bags to carry, you may be tempted to remotely unlock your car as you walk towards it. This could help a thief pinpoint your car and make it easier for them to approach you without appearing too obvious.

  1. Manually lock doors before pulling away

Most modern car doors lock automatically when you drive off but, while you are getting ready to pull away, the doors will be open – manually lock them.

  1. If concerned call for help and sound the horn

If you are driving and become concerned you are about to be attacked, try to call for help on your mobile and attract attention by sounding your horn; most thieves don’t want to be filmed by witnesses because it increases the chances of them being caught

For more AX tips on how to avoid and protect yourself from car-jacking, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.