Your vehicle will often be one of your most expensive assets, which makes it a key target for thieves. They’re not just after your vehicle itself but also the items that are inside it and these days having a car alarm or immobilizer is not enough as would be thieves are becoming more intelligent and sophisticated.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds, and the majority of people don’t think about taking the steps for prevention until its too late and their vehicle is stolen or burgled.
We’ve put together this guide to make sure you take the right precautions so your vehicle doesn’t look like an easy target and you can lower the chance of you being a victim of car theft.
1. Keep Valuables Out Of Sight
This may seem completely obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many vehicle users leave valuables in plain sight, ranging from laptops to satnavs. Even coats and bags will be attractive to a thief as there’s the chance that there could be valuables inside the pockets although it could just be loose change.
If possible you shouldn’t keep valuables in your car unattended, but if you do keep it locked in the trunk or glove compartment, however ensure that there isn’t anybody watching you do this so it’s best to leave them at home if possible.
2. Park In Safe Areas
Ensure that you park your vehicle in a well light area which will act as a deterrent towards criminals. Although its easy to avoid the dodgy parts of town, crime will still happen in the nicer parts as thieves will know this is where higher quality vehicles will be.
Parking under a street light will make sure that when it turns to night it’ll be lit, however parking in a car park is also much safer as long as your vehicle isn’t isolated and there is good camera coverage and a parking attendant.
Before you leave your car, look around the location and think about whether it looks safe, if the answer is a no then move it to a different place that’s more secure.
3. Don’t Leave The Engine Running
The majority of car thefts could be easily avoided if owners took the right steps such as turning the car off and locking when it’s not in use. Even though you may think that you’re only going to be away for the car for a matter of seconds when you pop into the house but this is all an opportunist thief needs to steal your vehicle.
We’ve all done it, but when you consider a huge proportion of vehicle thefts occur near the owners own home then you begin to realise that this is something that is often avoidable. So if you’re leaving your car make sure its locked.
4. Install GPS Tracking
If you’re car does unfortunately get stolen then if you have an auto-theft recovery tool you can locate your vehicle before its gone forever. These systems use GPS which tracks your vehicle down to a precise location which can then be passed onto the local law enforcement to recover your vehicle.
Some of these auto-theft recovery tools can also block the cars ignition from working so the car is no longer fully functional. Newer cars tend to have this type of tracking built in but if you have an older car you may have to pay to have it installed but it will often be the difference between finding your stolen vehicle and not.
5. Look After Your Keys
Make sure you look after your keys at all times as this is the easiest way for your car to be stolen. It may seem like a good idea to hide a spare key under your garden bin or door step but thieves are well up to date with these techniques. Ensure that you leave your spare key with a responsible person.
Thieves are also now breaking into homes just to get hold of car keys, so if you’re in your home or going to bed make sure they are in a secure location away from your front door in easy grasp of anyone coming into your home.
6. Have An Anti-Theft Device
Not only will an anti-theft device keep your car more secure but a large number of insurance companies offer an additional discount for vehicles that are fitted with one. A car without an anti-theft device is an easier target for thieves without attracting attention as they try to commit theft. These devices not only sound when triggered but also if your car is attempted to be hot-wired.
Other types of systems include:
Steering wheel and column locks
Ignition kill switches
Fuel kill switches
Electronic security systems
Gear shift locks
Floor board locks
7. Park Smartly
If you’re parking on a normal road then its recommended that you turn your wheels into the kerb or if you’re in a car park you should turn your wheel in the direction of the car next to you, without crashing of course!)
This will act as a deterrent towards thieves as it will require for time and effort to move or tow it. This is also the same if you have a driveway where you should drive into it rather than reversing. Even though it can seem like more effort you should use your driveway if you have one instead of parking on the road as this means thieves have to come closer to your home which often puts them off.
8. Remove Items With Your Personal Details
If you do unfortunately get your stolen, do not compound the error by having letter and other personal details in your car. This will leave you prone to other types of identity fraud and increase the losses that you experience from the event.
So there you have it! Many of these are easy to implement and most actually don’t cost any money but just requires a bit of effort and common sense. As always prevention is best so don’t wait to be a victim before you start taking these precautions.