The West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) has called on car showrooms to give free steering wheel locks in a bid to halt the rise in vehicle thefts.
Statistics reveal car crime has increased by more than a third in the past year and up nearly 400% since 2015.
The PCC, Simon Foster, said he will write to dealerships to encourage them to provide the security measure when an item is sold.
Foster believes that, as criminals use increasingly sophisticated technology to bypass electronic security systems (including remote central locking or keyless cars) a simple steering wheel locks and signal blocking ‘Faraday pouches’, may be a simple solution to an ever-evolving problem.
He said: “Retailers and car manufacturers must do much more to ensure their consumers’ vehicles are secure,” said the West Midlands PCC.
“I want car retailers to play their part in driving down vehicle thefts.For the cost of just a few pounds they can supply a steering wheel lock and Faraday pouch that will help keep the vehicles they sell secure and out of the hands of thieves.
“No one should spend tens of thousands of pounds on a vehicle only for it to be stolen months, weeks or sometimes, days, later, as a consequence of the level of security on that vehicle being unfit for purpose”.
He wants car manufacturers to make their products harder to steal.
Foster has also written to the Government to show which are most commonly targeted by thieves and hold car-makers to account for thefts.
According to one report, West Midlands Police has been tackling the issue by targeting so-called ‘chop shops’, which profit from the illegal trade in stolen vehicle parts.
Chief Inspector Will O’Connor, said: “This appears to be a major chop shop discovery. The unit was packed with car parts and initial examination of engines has shown several taken from stolen vehicles.
“Chop shops provide a key outlet for thieves to dispose of stolen vehicles quickly, so identifying and closing them down helps us make it more difficult for offenders and tackle the wider issue of car crime.
“The warrant was prompted by community intelligence. Information from the public is crucial in our efforts to close down chop shops. We always take information seriously and will always act where appropriate to close down chop shops and make arrests.”