A recent spate of thefts in Belfast led to six car owners having their vehicles stolen within the space of 90 minutes, as opportunist thieves made off with their vehicles while they left the engines running to de-ice them.
Known as ‘frost-jacking' these types of theft rise whenever there is a cold snap.
Tracker's police relationships manager Stuart Chapman said: "These thefts in Belfast show exactly how opportunistic thieves can be.
“Our stolen vehicle intelligence shows that thieves look out for cars on frosty mornings, shopping around for the most popular makes and models, as temperatures start to drop.
“Modern cars use inbuilt security that makes it more difficult to steal them without the keys, so every year thieves exploit the cold snap to target car owners who take the risk on frosty mornings."
Tracker stolen vehicle recovery systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle.
There is no visible aerial, so the thief won't even know it's there. Unlike other tracking systems, the device works even if the vehicle is hidden in a garage or taken abroad, offering car owners the ultimate in peace of mind should the worst happen.
Chapman concluded: "Would you leave an open briefcase containing £30,000 cash or more on your driveway or outside the local newsagent on a frosty morning?
“The answer is undoubtedly no. However, unbelievable as it sounds, each morning many motorists leave their car unattended with the engine running, making it easy for thieves to drive off with it with no extra effort.
"As these cases in Belfast show, car criminals react as quickly as the weather changes, pouncing on the chance to steal unattended vehicles.
“We urge owners to use common sense, especially on cold morning, when thieves could be looking for an opportunity to steal a car from under your nose.
“Fitting a Tracker unit could significantly increase the chance of a stolen car being recovered, however, never leave your car unattended with the engine running. It may take a few minutes more, but a few simple security precautions can save a lot of heartache and expense if your car is stolen."
Trackers's Winter Security Advice
• Never leave the keys in the ignition, even if you are just stopping quickly
• Never leave your car running unattended when de-icing
• Always lock and secure your vehicle
• Don't leave belongings on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you
• Do not leave technology items on display, such as satnavs, mobile telephones or DVD players. Take them with you or lock them in the boot
• Never leave car documents or spare keys inside the car - this only makes it easier for thieves to sell it on
• Keep doors locked and windows up when driving
• Park in busy or well-lit and attended car parks near CCTV cameras
• If you have a garage, use it to park your car
• At home, don't keep keys in a place where they can be seen or accessed from outside
• Consider fitting a tracking device to help police recover your car if it's stolen