In recent weeks the Thornton Heath Safer Neighbourhood Team have executed a number of decoy vehicle operations in the ward as well as plain clothes patrols in an attempt to catch and deter criminals who engage in car crime.

As part of this, officers have been using predictive mapping technology to identify the most at-risk areas on the ward, writes PC Huw Davies. 

Broadly, postcodes west of Grange Road, CR7, are being targeted for theft of objects inside the vehicle whereas postcodes to the east, SE25, are being targeted for theft of number plates and catalytic converters. 

Though a number of suspects have been identified, the best deterrent to vehicle crime remains a vigilant and informed general public. 


A few simple steps can go a long way to protecting your vehicle and belongings. 

Firstly, it is important to always make sure valuables are not being left in vehicles, or are covered if they must be left inside. Although most people know this, it is easy to forget and as a result the SNT have noticed a large number of mobile phones, tools and wallets being stolen after items were left in view.

Second, it is vital to never leave your vehicle unattended unlocked – even for a moment. 

Winter months make the temptation to pop inside with the engine idling ever more attractive, but there have been cases of valuables – sometimes thousands of pounds – being stolen from vehicles left unlocked. 

This advice should be heeded by delivery drivers especially as they often carry large sums in the vehicle. 

Third, where possible, try to park in either lit and easily visible or enclosed areas. This helps make sure thieves are seen and caught in the act, especially with crimes that require more specialist expertise such as theft of catalytic converters and number plates.

Hybrids are the most targeted for their catalytic converters. For those who can afford them, converter locks or tamper-proof screws may be worthy investments but in following the above steps you will have gone a long way to protecting your property. 

As ever, call 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergency situations. You can also report a crime online at . If you wish to speak to the Thornton Heath Safer Neighbourhoods team, we can be contacted on