Most car crime is preventable and it can take just 10 seconds for something to be stolen from your vehicle, so it’s worth keeping it well secured.
Here’s what you can use to reduce your chances of being a victim of a car crime.
1. A car alarm
Whilst a car alarm won’t necessarily stop a burglar from breaking into your car, the sirens and flashing lights often work as a good deterrent. Many modern alarms will also alert the car owner to the disturbance via an app.
2. A car immobiliser
This is an electronic device that prevents your car being started without the correct key. So, even if your car is broken into, the thief can’t take your car with them.
All new cars since 8 October 1998 have had immobilisers fitted as standard, but if you drive an older car, getting an immobiliser fitted will help secure it and may even mean cheaper car insurance.
3. A car tracker
Car tracking systems require a transmitter to be hidden in your car. If your car is stolen, the vehicle can be tracked and recovered.
There are GPS systems, which can find your car whilst it’s at street level and VHF systems, which can find your car even if it’s hidden in an underground car park or storage container.
Whilst often effective in recovering a stolen car, car trackers can be an ongoing expense – requiring a subscription.
4. Steering locks/gear stick & handbrake locks
These locking devices prevent your steering wheel, gearstick or handbrake from being used when the car is not being used.
They are generally cheap to buy, but the more you pay, the better the security will be. Although not 100% preventative to a professional thief, they also work as a visual deterrent.
Their bright colours – sometimes including flashing lights, will deter a thief when they see them.
Just ensure you buy the right size lock for your car.
5. Secure parking
If your home has a driveway, or ideally, a garage, then use it to park your car. Cars parked off the street are far less likely to be stolen than those left on the road.
If you have to park on the street, do so in a busy, well-lit area and where possible, in view of CCTV.
6. Hide your valuables
It’s not just your car itself that you need to worry about being stolen, but your items inside it too. Never leave any temptation in view of an opportunistic thief.
Everything from satnavs, mobile phones to other electronics, sunglasses or small change should be kept out of sight, in the boot or glove compartment.
7. Always lock your car
Every time you leave your car, ensure that you lock it. Whether popping out or at a petrol station – your vehicle and your valuables inside it are vulnerable to theft.
Close windows and sunroofs too – leaving only a small gap if your dog is in the car.
Particularly, never leave your car unlocked with the keys inside. It’s too easy to steal a car in a few seconds with the keys still in the ignition.
Further, leaving your keys in view of your front door can also make them easier to pinch through the letterbox.
8. Marking/ etching
Marking and etching are ways of stamping your car with a unique identifier.
Marking can be as basic as writing your car’s serial number or registration number on various parts with an ‘invisible’ ultra-violet pen, or as sophisticated as covering the car with thousands of micro dots – each encoded with your identifiable details.
These methods can act solely as a deterrent and will certainly help make it more recoverable if stolen.