The number of vehicles which have been taken from outside homes in Hertsmere has increased by 36 per cent in the last year.

Hertfordshire Constabulary figures show motor vehicle crime in the borough has risen from 153 to 208.

The force says thieves have been stealing keys that have been left close to letter boxes in people’s homes or getting into homes where the windows and doors have not been fully secured.

Criminals are also using special equipment which can hijack the signal from keyless entry fobs that are left in homes close to where the vehicle is parked. The equipment can then be used to unlock the car vehicle and start the engine.

Across Hertfordshire, motor vehicle thefts have risen by 13 per cent since April – when compared to the same period the previous year.

Hertsmere was the second largest increase, just behind East Herts district which saw a 37 per cent increase from 103 to 141.

There has been a 28 per cent increase in Dacorum from 187 to 239.

These figures do not mean these are the boroughs which have seen the highest number of vehicle thefts.

Police have issued the following advice to keep your vehicle as secure as possible.

• Never leave your vehicle keys close to the front door of the home and always keep them in a place of safety.

• Always lock your vehicle. If possible, park your vehicle in a locked, alarmed garage.

• Investing in a door bell video camera will help deter criminals from targeting vehicles at the front of your property

• Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’ device, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code an electronic key for the vehicle. Approved products can be found at

• Never hand vehicle keys over to a third party or leave the vehicle unattended at a valet parking, car wash or other parking places, where criminals can gain access to the vehicle and code a key electronically.

• If your vehicle is fitted with on board wi-fi consider switching this facility off, if you do not need it which will reduce the chance of criminals hacking into the vehicle’ system; your banking details or personal data from linked devices.

• Make sure your car is locked physically by trying the door handle and viewing the indicators flash, before leaving it.

• Ensure that ‘home’ on your vehicle ‘Sat Nav’ is shown as the post code of your local police station and not your actual home address.

• Use a good quality crook lock or full cover steering wheel security lock to immobilise your vehicle

• Consider replacing van locks with a high security door lock that is resistant to picking or breaking and slam or deadlocks. Approved products can be found at