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The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on car retailers to give away steering wheel locks when they sell a vehicle.

Simon Foster’s plea comes as car thefts in the West Midlands continue to rise.

The Commissioner will write to retailers in the region to encourage them to provide steering wheel locks at the point of sale.

Recent statistics show that car crime has increased by more than a third in the last year alone and nearly quadrupled since 2015.

As criminals use increasingly sophisticated technology to bypass electronic security systems, like remote central locking or keyless cars, Simon Foster believes that taking advantage of traditional methods of security, such as steering wheel locks and Faraday pouches, may be a simple solution to an ever-evolving problem.

The PCC is working to tackle the issue of car thefts on a number of fronts, including calling on car manufactures to make vehicles harder to steal and ensuring West Midlands Police continue to prioritise the issue. West Midlands Police are taking the issue on by closing down so-called ‘chop shops’ who profit from the illegal trade in stolen vehicle parts.

The PCC has also recently written to the government to urge it to provide a list of vehicles which are commonly stolen, so as to provide consumers with an informed choice, encourage manufactures to prioritise the security of vehicles and to hold to account those manufactures who are consistently neglecting the security of their customers’ vehicles.  The PCC has been publishing similar lists locally, but wants the problem addressed at a national level.

The PCC is echoing West Midlands Police’s recommendations to drivers that they should use a steering wheel lock, Faraday pouch and double check their car is locked when parked.

“Retailers and car manufacturers must do much more to ensure their consumers’ vehicles are secure,” the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster said.

“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”.

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