Protect your car from thieves
“The police operation in the city of Tartu, which started at the beginning of the night, culminated in a successful end, when the policemen of the Southern Prefecture, in cooperation with their colleagues, managed to arrest three car thieves from Lithuania and the escort car they were using on the outskirts of the city.” This is the first sentence in the press release of the Police and Border Guard Board published on the 13th of September. Unfortunately, the pandemic called “Lithuanian car thieves” has not disappeared and is gaining momentum again before winter.
This time, Lithuanians are mainly interested in luxury SUVs from Lexus and Toyota. Kristjan Tommingas, head of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Service of the South Prefecture, told Postimees in his interview that several newer generation Lexus and Toyota SUVs have fallen prey to thieves over the past month.
However, this does not mean that owners of other car brands can breathe easier. Car theft is also a big problem in other parts of Europe. According to Southern District Prosecutor Mari Kartau, during the recent wave of car thefts in Belgium, a lot of Peugeot 308s were also taken.
Protecting the vehicle is up to each car owner
Although law enforcement agencies work continuously to prevent organized crime, every car owner has the opportunity to contribute to the prevention of theft. Here, we will once again go over the measures that each person can take to protect their vehicle.
1. Install a GPS device on your car
GPS tracking is one of the surest ways to locate a car should the worst happen and thieves manage to get hold of the vehicle. A good example is the theft of an SUV in Viljandimaa on the night of October 19th, the thieves of which the police managed to catch quickly thanks to an additional device installed on the vehicle.
Although car thieves are mostly professionals and use various measures to block the signal of GPS devices or remove/disable the device, the solution offered by Navirec allows to minimize this risk.
Navirec Secure Box is a small-sized GPS device that operates on battery power without maintenance for a long time. The wireless device can be successfully hidden anywhere in the vehicle, and since it transmits a GPS signal at certain intervals, it is virtually impossible for thieves to detect. The location of the vehicle can also be conveniently monitored in the Navirec mobile app, and the frequency of the signal interval can be quickly changed if desired. The cost of the device is a pittance compared to the costs incurred in connection with vehicle theft.
Order the Navirec Secure Box HERE!
2. Use an immobilizer
Interrupting the vehicle’s starter or ignition circuit means that the car cannot be started with the key or button. In essence, it is an additional security system for the car, which excludes its malicious use.
Navirec offers a solution to disconnect the starter remotely by sending a command to the vehicle via a mobile app. This means that thieves cannot use the vehicle to flee the scene. The only way to commit the theft would therefore be towing the car, which is obviously too time-consuming and attention-grabbing in the eyes of a smart thief.
3. Protect your vehicle’s key fob
It is known that cars with keyless starts are easier to steal. That’s why we remind you again how you can protect the key fob from signal extension:
- do not store the key fob near the vehicle (in a jacket pocket in the hallway, on a rack, etc.), but place it farther away if possible;
- place the key fob in a metal box or a special signal-blocking bag;
- it is possible to turn off the key fobs of newer vehicles – check in the user manual if you can do this.
4. When parking your car, choose a place carefully
When parking in a public place, choose a place that is well-lit and, if possible, within the surveillance area of security cameras. Even if it means you have to walk a little further to your destination, it will be worth it. Thieves are not stupid and generally won’t go trough with the act when the risk of being caught is high.
Residents of apartment buildings could follow the aforementioned principles if possible. The vehicles of the residents of the private house are protected by a garden with a lockable gate surrounding the house, which makes it difficult for thieves to drive away with the vehicle. Also, the parking area could be illuminated by a light with a motion sensor, which can startle thieves when they act.
If there is an indoor garage, the car should, of course, be parked there, because any physical barriers (e.g. garage door) make theft more time-consuming and therefore more dangerous for the thief. If there are several cars in the household, it can also help if the less expensive vehicle(s) are parked in front of more expensive ones and access to the vehicle(s) is difficult for thieves.
5. Start with neighborhood watch
People in a community get to know the residents and their usual movement patterns over time, and this can be very useful in preventing theft. Thieves often do preliminary work and gather information about vehicles and their owners before committing the theft. If you notice suspicious persons or vehicles moving around, you should definitely report it to the Emergency Center.
According to the head of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Service of Southern Prefecture, you should pay special attention to the following danger signs at home:
- criminals are mostly men aged 20-40;
- thieves often drive around in vehicles with Lithuanian/English license plates that are about 10 years old;
- thieves gather preliminary information by sneaking around cars on an electric scooter or on foot;
- thieves hide their faces (with an article of clothing, a mask, or something similar).
Theft is the most common type of crime
According to the Ministry of Justice, the number of registered crimes in Estonia decreased significantly until 2017 but has been on the rise again in recent years. Last year (2021), a total of 25,982 crimes were registered, with the biggest increase coming from thefts (a total of 11,551 – i.e. 44% of all crimes).
Thefts from vehicles (i.e. thefts of valuables stored in the vehicle and vehicle parts) were registered 416 times in 2021. Vehicle thefts were committed 110 times, which is very high for a country the size of Estonia. (Ministry of Justice, 2022)