Car crime is one of the most widely reported types of crime in the United Kingdom. Having your car stolen can be a major inconvenience and can be quite traumatic, especially if your car contained a lot of personal items.
You can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of car crime by taking steps to improve the security of your car. Taking steps to keep your car safe from vehicle theft can also help to reduce your insurance premiums. Most of these steps are very simple, but will be worth it if they mean that your car is safer.
Always take your keys out of the ignition and lock up your vehicle if you are planning on stepping away from it. Even if you are only planning to jump out of the car to post a letter or run into the shop, you should still make sure that you take steps to secure it. Opportunist thieves will take any chance that is handed to them if they see a vehicle which would be easy to steal. Don’t give them easy chances like this.
Thinking about the area that you park in can help to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to car crime. Try to park in a well-lit area if the option is available to you. If you are parking in a town or city, try to park near to CCTV cameras. These cameras deter thieves and can help to catch criminals if they do decide to try to steal your vehicle.
If the option is available to you, park your car in a garage if you are not going to be driving it for a while. Garages are often available to rent close to housing if you do not have a garage of your own. Consider fitting a motion-sensor light if you park your vehicle on your driveway. These lights will come on if someone moves towards your car and can help to deter would-be thieves.
What‘s on show?
Always think about what you have left on show in your car. Criminals may not want to steal your whole vehicle, but they could be tempted to break into it in order to steal individual items. Remove the temptation by removing your valuable items from show. Thieves are far less likely to try to get into a car if there is no guarantee that there is going to be something valuable in there, whereas if they are able to see a high value item like a laptop or a handbag, then they may take the chance. If you do need to leave valuables in your car, put them into the boot so that they are out of sight. The boot is also much harder to break into than it would be for criminals to smash a window and grab an item off the front seat.
Keep your Keys Safe
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of car crimes occurring in the summer months, when opportunist thieves find it easier to snatch people’s car keys. The warmer months mean that people are more likely to leave their doors and windows open at home, allowing thieves to rush in and grab a set of car keys off of the table. These thieves are often so careful that people don’t even realise that their keys are gone until they realise that their car is gone too. Take care not to leave your keys close to the windows or doors of your home, and do not leave them on show. Be extra careful with your keys whilst you are at the pub or on the beach, especially if you are sat in a position where a thief could have seen you getting out of your car. Knowing which car is yours will make it much easier for them to make a quick getaway if they are able to grab your keys.
Use a Wheel Lock
Some security experts are starting to turn against wheel locks, because most skilled thieves are able to get past them in a few minutes. However, if you follow all of the rest of the advice that is given for keeping your car safe, a few minutes may be all that it takes for the thief to be disturbed and to flee the vehicle. Seeing that you have a wheel lock in your vehicle is likely to make some thieves back off and look for a much easier target.
Fit an Immobiliser
Most new vehicles now come with an immobiliser, but if your vehicle doesn’t have one then you can have an aftermarket immobiliser fitted by a mechanic or car electrics specialist. Although it is not impossible to override an immobiliser, the device does make it a lot harder to steal a car. Immobilisers play such an important part in car security that most insurance providers will actually ask you whether you have an immobiliser fitted on your car. Being able to answer “yes” to this question should lower your security premiums.
Fit an Alarm
You should also make sure that you car has an alarm fitted to it. If the car didn’t come with an alarm as standard, it is possible to get an aftermarket alarm fitted to your vehicle. The alarm should sound if someone tampers with your vehicle. The noise should attract attention and may help to scare away the person who was tampering with the vehicle. Pop a window sticker in the car as well to show what sort of alarm the vehicle is protected by. Seeing an alarm sticker or a regular blinking alarm light can make thieves think twice before they target your car.
Fit a Dash Cam
Dash cams are fairly common in the UK now, and sales are on the increase. Not only are they good for evidence in proving who was at fault in an accident but they can also help prevent you becoming the victim of crimes such as a Crash For Cash scam where the perpetrator will make exaggerated claims for things such as recovery costs, repair costs, and almost certainly make a claim for whiplash compensation. These type of scammers even claimSome dash cams have features such as motion detection. What this means is that the dash cam will start recording when there is motion around the vehicle, even if it is not in use. For instance if your car is parked in a car park and the dash cam detects movement it will start recording and this can help with incidents such as vandalism, or if somebody hits your car with theirs.
Install a Car Tracker
If the unthinkable happens and your car does get stolen, a car tracker can help you to recover it. These GPS devices can help the police to find out where the car was taken to. Most “professional” thieves will seek to remove GPS trackers as soon as possible after the car is stolen, so always check tracking details as soon as you know that the car is gone.