Carjacking not just a city risk, Shropshire security firm warns

Carjackings are on the increase but it’s not just a city risk, a Shropshire security firm warned today.

It comes after West Midlands Police launched a crackdown on car crime late last year with nearly 600 arrests being made in a matter of weeks following what the crime commissioner described as an ‘epidemic’.

While the problem is more prevalent in city areas, bosses at Bulldog Security Products in Much Wenlock today urged greater awareness of the issue and warned there may be more at stake than the loss of a vehicle.

Last June a driver was stabbed in a violent car-jacking on an estate in Woodside, Telford.

In October an elderly woman needed hospital treatment after she was attacked in a carjacking in Edinburgh.

Last month two people appeared in court after they helped to steal a car by loading it onto a recovery truck. The vehicle was found by police as it had a tracker fitted.

Whilst in October former boxer Michael Watson has told how rebuilding his life after a violent carjacking had been tougher than all his world title fights “put together”.

Ian Jordan, Bulldog managing director, said: “While we don’t want to scare people, the danger does exist and carjacking can happen anywhere at anytime - it’s not just a city risk.

“It’s also worth bearing in mind it isn’t just about the car, as distressing as that can be, but it’s about what’s in the vehicle, children, valuables, work laptops. 

“We would always advise not to leave valuable items in the car when it is unattended but we are also seeing an increase in incidents where vehicles are being targeted while stationary at junctions, traffic lights and outside shops.

“A car was stolen in Bradford in early January with a four-year-old child inside and there have seen other similar instances around the country over the past year, including in Birmingham last July when a four-week-old baby was taken in a carjacking. 

“We can only imagine the devastating effect this has on the families of those children involved.

“There were five carjackings reported in Birmingham in one week in October and the  590 arrests in the West Midlands force area before Christmas followed a concerted campaign by police to cut down on car thefts.

“These vehicles can be stolen to order with either the whole car or its individual parts ending up being shipped abroad - Eastern Europe and North Africa are favoured destinations.

“Using a tracker is a simple precaution you can take and can be used on vehicles and other items you might normally carry around in your car. There are trackers with anti-theft features that allow the engine to be remotely cut off within seconds and, of course, if the vehicle is taken it can aid in its recovery.

“You can also install a sturdy, security box for putting valuables, papers and so on in to guard against theft.

“The other thing is not to leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running - something people still do when popping into the shop, dropping items off or picking them up or de-icing the car during winter weather.

“It only takes a minute to be caught with your guard down and someone to make off with your car and whatever is inside. Be alert at all times, aware of your surroundings and take simple steps to ensure security and safety.”