There has been a huge increase in thefts from cars and vans this year.

Hertfordshire Police say since the start of April, there has been an extra 7 per cent of cases across the county.

However, Hertsmere saw one of the highest increases - a 27 per cent rise from 231 to 294 in the period between April 2017 and April 2018.

Dacorum saw an 18 per cent increase from 359 to 427.

Inspector Andrew Palfreyman of the Crime Reduction Unit said: “Thefts from vehicles have continued to increase in some parts of the county, so we are reminding drivers not to encourage thieves by leaving valuables on view in your vehicle. Make sure that any items such as coats, bags, phones are out of sight and try to remove anything of value from the vehicle when left overnight.

“Vans continue to be a target for thieves looking for tools and other equipment stored in them. Criminals have become more sophisticated in the methods they use to bypass some vehicle security systems, so I urge the removal of tools or installing a tool safe. We are running crime prevention events across the county helping people to secure their vehicles and security marking valuables. Details of these events can be found at”

To help prevent theft from your vehicle:

• Never leave valuables on display

• Never leave tools in your van unless they are secured in an approved* tool safe

• Fit good quality approved* additional external locks to van doors

• Engrave or mark tools and their boxes with your postcode and house number

• Use an approved steering lock or gear clamp, and remember to set your immobiliser and alarm if you have one.

• If away from home consider parking your vehicle in a ‘Park Mark’ approved car park.

To help prevent your vehicle being stolen:

• Never hand vehicle keys over to a third party or leave the vehicle unattended at a valet parking, car wash or other parking places, where criminals can gain access to the vehicle and code a key electronically.

• Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code a key from the vehicle.

• Consider fitting a dual band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS, to make it more difficult for the tracking signal being blocked.

• Criminals can also employ remote/keyless entry jamming equipment so make sure your car is locked by trying the door before leaving it.

• Ensure that ‘home’ on your vehicle sat nav is shown as the post code of your local police station and not your actual home address.

• Use an approved* steering wheel lock and never leave your vehicle unlocked – even for a moment

More advice on how to make your vehicle safe is available at: