Don’t Leave Your Car Keys By The Front Door!

Essex Police warn:

Police are urging drivers, especially the owners of high value vehicles, to beef up their home security in a bid to thwart would-be car thieves.

The appeal follows three recent burglaries in Rayleigh in which homes were burgled primarily for the vehicle keys. In two cases vehicles were stolen from the drive; in the third a car had been tampered with but was not taken.

Officers are linking these latest incidents to number of similar offences reported in the Rayleigh and Chelmsford areas recently.

The thieves struck overnight while the occupants of the houses slept, forcing the front door to get in and then rifling rooms in the search for keys.

Said Pc Emma Chapman: ?The vehicle is the thieves? prime target, but they need to get their hands on the keys because today?s increasingly sophisticated car security systems are making vehicles more difficult to steal.

?The tragedy for the owners is that they not only have to deal with the theft of their car, but also with the knowledge that their home has been violated while they slept.

“It?s a distressing experience for them and I would ask anyone who has any information that might lead us to the people responsible to contact Rochford CID on 01268 77553, extension 34434.?

There are a number of straightforward security measures that people can adopt to help safeguard their homes, not least by making sure that all windows and doors are secure and properly locked.

They might also consider installing security lighting at the front and rear doors, and think about setting the burglar alarm at night, even when they are at home. Both steps are known to deter intruders.

?But just as importantly I would urge people to be careful with their keys, especially their car keys and never leave them close to the front or rear door where they are in easy reach of a burglar. Always keep them locked away somewhere safe,? added Pc Chapman.

January 17, 2008

  • Could I add a word of caution to the suggestion about locking keys away?

    I attended a Fire Safety course today run by the Fire Service Safety Partnership and the fire officers were very keen to remind us to make sure that all family members can easily find keys in order to exit the home in the event of a fire – having an agreed location for them close to the door was their recommendation.

    As most people keep their car and door keys together its something we need to think about.

  • It was me who was ‘Admin’ last night, however I agree Jackie, locking away your keys does seem an extreme step. For one thing, where do you leave the key that locks whatever you have put your car keys in?

    I keep my mobile phone next to my bed – maybe that’s the best place for the keys as well? (Though our cars are not exactly ‘high value’ – Vauxhall Astra and Daewoo Matiz!)

  • I’m sorry, but this is more defeatist nonsense from our ineffective police service. I’m not saying it’s the fault of the police, but for decades there has been a problem with vehicle crime, and instead of addressing the cause of the problem, pressure was placed on car owners and the car manufacturers to improve security, without deterring those that commit the offences. So it just escalates until vehicles are now so secure they break into your house or try to take the car while you’re using it instead.

    I have no problem with common sense precautions, but this is just the police saying to us all “we can’t stop them, and your vehicle is not safe, even on your own drive way”. So what happens next, does your car insurance not pay out if you can’t prove your keys were locked in a drawer?

    Besides, in a similar story a few months before Christmas, one newspaper’s advice was not to have the keys near the door, by also not to take them to your bedroom in case the thieves then decide to come after you. Apparently we should leave our keys somewhere where the thieves could find them after a bit of a search!

    It would be funny if it were not so sad.

  • Whilst we were living in High Ongar two years ago, an attempt was made to break into our house to steal the keys to our car, fortunately for us, the dog we had at the time woke, barked and scared them over the fences to my neighbours but one. They had an identical car and were not so lucky. Not only was their car stolen (along with house keys) but they had tried to take the plasma TV off the wall, doing damage to the TV.

    Since then, we have taken our keys upstairs with us, and placed by the bed. If there ever is a fire in the house, you know where your keys are. We were told by the police that these are generally “thefts to order”, and the car normally ends up in Europe.

    Not a comforting thought I know, and a distressing one for all involved. I would advise all to evaluate their homes security features and update if necessary.

  • I see on the BBC news that officers from Essex police are attending the march in London re: Pay. Given the performance of Rayleigh police they should be taking a pay cut. Can anything be done to force them to improve and do the job WE pay them for. I can’t wait to see the latest Council Tax bill to find out my contribution……

  • Does anyone know why all of a sudden we keep getting “young ex-offenders” knocking on our door trying to sell us cleaning products? We’ve had at least 3 visits over the past couple of months.

    My wife told the chap last night that we weren’t interested, but he insisted on giving her the sales pitch about how he was doing it to gain work experience, and how profits were for homeless charities.