I have been asked two questions about personal security that are vehicle related lately. One concerns blocking your vehicle identification number (VIN) plate so that it cannot be read by anyone and the other is carrying a photocopy of your vehicle licence and insurance document with the address on it removed. Both are attempts to thwart the potential actions of thieves.
The VIN plate issue arose out of newspaper stories that car thieves have been reading the number off the dash mounted plate and taking it to a car dealer or locksmith to have a key cut. This would allow the theft of the vehicle using that key. Keys can be cut using only that information, but we would hope that inquiries would be made to verify vehicle ownership and the identity of the person requesting the key before it is made.
Covering a VIN plate is not illegal, but make sure that you can remove the cover easily in the event that police wish to verify the VIN with the vehicle licence documents.
The second issue arises out of the possibility that a thief going through your glove box would locate the licence document and use the address to go to your home and cause difficulty there as well. This is probably not likely, but neither is it impossible. Blocking the address on the photocopy left in the vehicle would prevent this from happening.
This suggestion is not completely legal. The Motor Vehicle Act requires that the licence or a photocopy of it be carried in the vehicle at all times when it is on a highway. Blocking information means that the document is no longer a photocopy of the original. A better solution would be to photocopy the original, and then carry the photocopy on your person instead of leaving it in the vehicle.