Vehicle Crime

Vehicle crime accounts for many of the recorded incidents across Spain. This type of crime is however decreasing both locally and nationally. But, despite increased security on newer vehicles, we cannot relax. There are still too many vehicles being broken into or stolen, and being on the receiving end of vehicle crime is a distressing experience. There is also the inconvenience of coping without a car until insurance claims are paid. If the vehicle is returned to you it may be damaged and in need of repair before you can use it again.

Doors and Windows

Lock the doors, windows, boot and sunroof every time you leave your car - however briefly.

Ignition key and Immobiliser

Take the ignition key out even when the car is parked in your driveway or garage. Where applicable, always set the alarm or immobiliser. Follow this routine when filling up with petrol or popping into the newsagents. If you do not have an immobiliser, consider having one fitted.

Valuables and other possessions

Do not leave them on display. The coat on the back seat may be worthless to you but a thief may still break in to see if there is any cash or cards in the pocket. Often the cost of replacing a broken window is more than the cost of the goods stolen. If you can, take all your valuables with you. If you can't, lock everything out of sight in the boot. In particular, never leave the following in the car:

  • Chequebook, credit and debit cards.
  • Driving documents and personal correspondence. They could help a thief to sell your car or provide a cover story if stopped by the police.
  • Mobile phones. 40% of the car break-ins involve the theft of a mobile phone.

Radio/cassette/CD players

Always remove these where possible. Whether removable or not, all equipment should be marked with the registration number. Make a note of the serial number and keep it in a safe place.


Where this is not already done, arrange to have either the registration number and/or the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etched onto the windows. This service is often available free of charge at vehicle glazing centres.


When parked put the aerial down to stop it being vandalised.


Consider fitting lockable wheel nuts, especially where you have alloy wheels fitted.

Keep your car safe and secure

Spanish Police are concerned about the number of motor vehicles being stolen. Many criminals may target your home in an attempt to steal the keys to your vehicle. High cost vehicles are most at risk to this type of crime. Several methods are commonly used that you should be aware of:

  • Criminals are simply walking into the home through an open door and removing the car keys from a kitchen work top or from a hall cabinet.
  • Another popular method is to use a rod and hook device which can be pushed through a letter box or open window and hook the car keys.
  • Also common is breaking into the home and searching the kitchen area for the keys.

Every effort should be made to reduce the opportunity for these crimes to take place. Security always relies on common sense.


Other security devices

Invest in a steering wheel or gear lever lock. These are available from most auto centres and garages and provide a high visibility deterrent to a thief.


If you have a garage, use it and remember to lock it. More than half of all car thefts occur in the vicinity of the home. When away from home, or if you do not have a garage, always try to park in a well-lit open location. When parking in public car parks look for one that is well supervised, with restricted entry and exit points, good lighting and security cameras.