Last year the Home Office revealed figures showing car theft had increased by a whopping 50% over the previous 5 years, which in turn pushes up the cost of car insurance. Although car security is continually improving, unfortunately so is the sophistication of criminals, so despite their improved security systems cars are still more at risk of being stolen than ever.
Thieves use a range of clever tactics to get what they want, and sadly car crime is no different. Criminals will often modify their approach according to the latest improvements in technology, so it’s important to stay vigilant and keep your car safe at all times unless you want to become another statistic in the country’s growing car crime epidemic.
To help you stay one step ahead of car thieves, here are our tips on how to keep your vehicle safe.
Keep it locked
Clearly this is the most obvious advice we could give, but it’s also the most effective. In some cases, thieves may be required to go to extreme lengths to gain access to someone’s car, but if you leave the door open then you’re basically handing them your belongings on a silver platter. Be sure to keep your doors locked and windows closed whenever your car is left unattended.
During winter, some careless motorists leave their car running while they wait inside for it to defrost. In this situation, it’s not uncommon for opportunistic car thieves to steal vehicles in what’s known as “frost jacking”. Don’t give them the opportunity. While it’s never fun sitting inside a freezing cold car, it certainly beats having your vehicle stolen.
In some cases, thieves will break into a car in the hope there are some valuable items inside they can steal. Remove any items of value, that way even if they do mange to get inside, the only thing you’ll need to replace is a window or lock, and not that expensive watch or luxury designer handbag you spent a small fortune on.
Always park in a safe place
If you need to park your car away from your home, make sure you keep it in a well-lit area that’s in plain view wherever possible. This will make it much more difficult for thieves to get inside your car as they’ll be afraid of being caught in the act. When parking your vehicle at home, if you have a garage then be sure to use it. While it can be laborious parking in your garage after a long and tiring day, the extra effort will be worth it as you’ll be keeping your vehicle safe.
Be aware of keyless theft
Cars with keyless entry and ignition are vulnerable to keyless theft where the thieves don’t even need to have possession of your keys to steal your vehicle. Digital equipment can be used to pick up the car’s signal and this is then used to turn the vehicle on and drive away. In many cases, criminals will hang around outside your home trying to pick up your signal, so remember to keep your fob switched off whenever it’s not in use.
Get yourself a steering lock
Now you might think we’re going all retro on you here, but steering locks are actually making a comeback – in part due to the rise in keyless car theft. Fitting a metal steering lock means a thief cannot turn the steering wheel in your car, and with some of these locks practically impregnable this is one sure-fire way of stopping keyless car thieves dead in their tracks.
Get adequate insurance
Sadly, while following all of these tips will reduce the chances of your car being stolen or broken into, in some cases thieves will be so determined that there’s simply nothing you can do. As long as your car is secure enough to prevent them from driving away and you don’t leave any belongings lying around then you should only have a broken window of lock to worry about.
Having adequate car insurance will mean you’re covered in any event. So, whether your car is stolen or you just have a side window to replace, having proper cover will mean you can decide how to proceed with your insurance claim.
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