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Preventing Vehicle Thefts

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Vehicle thefts are, despite all of the measures taken to prevent or deter them, still an issue for all of us. They take various forms, from a vehicle or its keys being taken from your home or place of work, to more violent incidents such as car-jacking at the roadside to serious assaults at home, with the intent of obtaining your car keys. This level of violence is more typical in the case of high value vehicles.

There are measures all of us can take to prevent these events happening, which aren’t always reliant on technology but more us being smarter about where we leave our vehicle’s or how we park them.

Simple / Straightforward measures

  • Keep track of your keys
  • Secure your vehicle
  • Check it’s locked and check again
  • Think about where you keep your keys
  • Park intelligently (in a well-lit area)
  • Don’t leave any valuables on sight in your vehicle
  • Don’t leave your car with its engine running unattended
  • Don’t give thieves any opportunity to steal your keys, it’s extremely difficult to hot wire modern vehicles, therefore thieves will always attempt to get access to your keys
  • Never leave anything with your name and address in the car

When you park, there are a few simple actions to reduce the risk of your car being taken. If you’re parking on a road turn the wheels into the kerb, and when in a car park turn the wheels towards another car as thieves will avoid your vehicle if it takes more effort and time to move it. Similarly, when parking on a drive, always drive in rather than reverse in and again, turn the wheels. And if you have a driveway, use it, as a thief will have to come closer to you to take the car and they don’t like to do that.

Vehicle security measures / features

  • If your vehicle doesn’t have its own security measures built in use a physical anti-theft device such as a crook lock on the steering wheel or handbrake
  • Use the security features your car already has, your insurers will ask if all of these are in operation when you register a claim
  • Add to your security equipment, if you take this step, please make sure you advise your broker
  • Make your security measures obvious (from a thief’s point of view, the ideal car is one with no visible security)
  • The use of systems such as trackers are a proven deterrent.

The recent “pinch and park” trend means that thieves nowadays are resorting to stealing a car by burgling the keys, and then parking it up somewhere else for a short period. The reason they do this is to check the car hasn’t got a tracking device. If it’s still there after a couple of weeks, the chances are it hasn’t – so the thieves can safely return to collect the car without the risk of a tracking device leading the police straight to them. So if your car is stolen, it makes sense to check the local area as thoroughly as you can. You never know – you might just find it parked up in a side road.

Thieves are also discerning in their choice of vehicles with certain cars being stolen for certain jobs. For example, ram-raiders prefer sturdier vehicles with tow bars or oversize bumpers, and they will choose dark-coloured vehicles so they blend in. White vans are seen as being anonymous due to their widespread use by a multitude of trades.

Commercial vehicles are often stolen because the thief can see tools or equipment inside them, in fact the vehicle is merely seen as a method of easily transporting the property they contain.

To sum up it is in your best interests to follow all of the advice offered above to minimise the likelihood of a theft occurring by being smart in where you park, how attractive you make your vehicle to a criminal, use of built in or additional technology and most importantly the security of your keys.