The run up to Christmas is always a good time for vehicle thieves; people are in a rush or stressed at this time and forget to lock cars, put alarms on and even leave their shopping on display. However, a lot of crime against motor vehicles is opportunistic and therefore preventable. By following some straightforward advice you can beat the thieves this winter.
Take some simple precautionary steps to protect your vehicle:
Parking – This may seem obvious but you’ll be surprised how many people do it – never leave your keys in an unattended vehicle. Some criminals target parked cars at petrol stations, shops, outside schools etc. – situations where the driver is most likely to just pop out the car and leave it vulnerable to theft.
When parking up make it that bit more difficult for a thief to escape by turning your wheel inwards towards the curb or if in a bay then towards another vehicle.
To prevent vandalism remember to tuck in the wing mirrors and put the aerial down if possible.
Valuables and personal details – Always keep your valuables out of sight. Do not leave anything on display – even a jacket or plastic bag can seem like an appealing target to a thief. Car radios, CDs, laptop computers, mobile phones, cash and briefcases are popular targets. Never leave your car documents or personal documents in your car as fraudsters can use these.
Never store your spare car keys inside the vehicle – keep them in a safe place at home. However, never store them near the front door as thieves break into properties or use a rod through a letterbox to specifically steal car keys from hallways.
Keep your vehicle visible – Avoid parking in areas with poor lighting, overgrown trees, shrubs or hedges and high walls that can all provide cover for criminals. Ensure that trees and bushes are pruned and that any street lighting that is not working is reported for repair.
Most vehicle crimes occur on street so it is always safer to park your vehicle in a driveway if available. You might also want to consider installing your own private CCTV camera to safeguard your property. These days an intermediate quality night vision camera kit can be purchased online for as little as £150 from eBay or Amazon.
Discourage thieves by displaying warning signs – Most thieves are lazy and do not want the extra hassle of having to remove security features. Perhaps the best method of deterring thieves is by installing security devices such as a steering wheel lock, proximity alarm or immobiliser. You might also want to consider installing a Thatcham approved tracker in your vehicle in the event that your case is stolen.
Mark your property – Visibly mark in-car entertainment systems and other accessories that you might have in your car frequently with a permanent marker pen. You can also have your windows etched with the vehicle registration number. Do not forget to note down the chassis number which will be useful if your vehicle goes missing or requires identification.
If you have any more tips or ideas then why not share them below?