Theft from Motor Vehicles

Traditionally theft from motor vehicles has related to items left within a vehicle when leaving it unoccupied, but more recently offenders have also stolen parts too. 

Items such as sat-navs, phones, money, laptops, clothing and tools can be extremely attractive to an offender, and are the everyday items that often get left on show in vehicles. 

Having certain items stolen could have a huge impact on your work or business, especially if the laptop, phone or tools are required by you to do your job.  Some laptops may also have sensitive or personal data on them.


The Force has released a short video from one of its capture cars as a warning to motorists and those criminals who target them.

The video, shows a now convicted thief breaking the window of a parked car equipped with capture car technology and stealing a sat nav within seconds. The footage was later used as evidence during the prosecution of the offender.



sat nav flyer  vehicle crime leaflet

Download the above sat nav leaflet and vehicle crime leaflet.


The following advice is provided to assist you in reducing the opportunity for items of value from being stolen from your vehicle, some changes can be made free of charge and others will vary in cost depending on your vehicle and additional requirements:

  • Never leave any items of value in your vehicle on leaving it unoccupied
  • Do not leave items of value in the boot – some parcel shelves may not fit flush or may have dropped off centre after use, the smallest of gaps may provide an opportunity for an offender to see through
  • Always remove sat-navs and their holders from the vehicle, and ensure that the sucker mark from the holder is wiped off the window
  • Wherever feasible do not leave any work or business related equipment in your vehicle, especially when your vehicle is left unoccupied overnight – having such items stolen can have a serious impact on your livelihood
  • If you regularly store work equipment in your vehicle overnight is there a more secure option at your place of business?
  • Remove items of value from the glove box and leave it open to show that it is empty – this includes vehicle registration documentation
  • If you are out shopping don’t return to the car to leave bags on your back seat and then return to the shops
  • Ensure that windows and sunroofs are closed – never leave them open, and if you drive a convertible always close the soft top
  • You may know that a bag or a box in your vehicle is empty or contains nothing of value, but an offender won't do and it may catch their attention
  • You may want to consider additional security products depending on your vehicle – there are various solutions available to mark different parts on your vehicle, devices to assist in protecting catalytic convertors and tamper proof screws for number plates.  Tamper proof number plates are also available depending on budget
  • If you are looking to purchase additional physical security for your vehicle we would recommend that you try to purchase devices that  are Thatcham quality assured or Sold Secure tested ( and/or
  • It’s always worth contacting the manufacturer of your vehicle if you are looking for additional specific security devices for in built features such as sat-nav systems
  • If you are parking your vehicle in a public place try to find a car park that has received ‘Park Mark’ accreditation – these sites have gone through a process to improve and sustain levels of security (


If any upgrades to security/modifications are made to your vehicle it is worth mentioning to your insurance company as you may qualify for a discount on your premium.

West Yorkshire Police has a Crime Prevention Team in each of the five policing Districts.  Please do not hesitate to contact your local Crime Prevention Officers for further advice, they are there to support you and offer additional information on specific requirements.  You can contact the local Crime Prevention Officers by calling 101 and asking to be put through to them in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds or Wakefield. 

You can also email them on the following:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]


Page last reviewed February 2022.