How to Protect Your Car from Vehicle Theft

Posted & filed under Car Insurance.

by Lewis Bassett

Vehicle theft is one of the most common crimes in the world, and there are many reasons why. A car
is a valuable commodity that is easy to sell, and an unprotected car is relatively easy to steal. In fact,
there is some truth in the belief that is a thief wants your car, he will get it. The onus is on the owner
to make sure their vehicle is securely protected.

Vehicle theft has, to some extent, become more sophisticated of late; random theft is less likely and,
instead, thieves are targeting the most popular models. This is something you should consider when
looking at your car’s security system: if your car is a model in the top ten sellers list, it is likely to be
among the top ten most stolen. For the record, the car most likely to be stolen is a BMW 5-Series.

The key to protecting your car lies in making it as unattractive to a thief as possible; time is of the
essence for the car thief, and the longer it takes to steal your car, the less likely it is to be stolen.
Some of the following tips are common sense, others are gained from experience, but these are all
essential aids to minimising the risk of vehicle theft:

  • All new cars will have an alarm system fitted, and older vehicles are likely to have had one
    installed as an after-market item. Use the alarm as instructed, and make sure it is apparent
    that your alarm is activated.
  • Always lock your vehicle: it is a fact that half of stolen cars were unlocked. It doesn’t matter
    if you are leaving your car for just a few moments, it only takes that long for a thief to get in
    and drive away.
  • Never leave your keys in the car: the keys are in the ignition in more than 10% of car thefts.
    Always park in a well-lit area, as dark and hidden spaces are the most popular with car
  • Never hide a spare set of keys in your car; thieves are not fools and will know precisely
    where to look.
  • Make sure all the windows are completely closed, as the smallest gap enables the thief to
    enter the vehicle easily.
  • Never leave your engine running with the car unattended as this is an invitation to
    opportunist thieves. Many people who have stopped at a filling station, store or ATM have
    found their car spirited away behind their back – thieves target these sites and wait for the
    opportunity. Likewise, do not start the engine at home and leave it running to warm up
    while you are in the house; a surprising number of cars are stolen this way.
  • Never leave valuables in view, and remove the front panel from your stereo.
    If you are leaving your car overnight or for some time try and park in an attended parking
    lot. Thieves are reluctant to try and steal a car when someone is watching.
  • Some thieves target expensive and sought-after models and use a tow-truck to quickly
    take the vehicle. If you park with your wheels turned towards the kerb this is much harder.
    Likewise, turn your wheels to the side in your driveway or in a parking lot, and for rear wheel
    drive cars, always reverse into your drive; for front wheel drive, park front first. On four
    wheel drive cars note that it is the rear wheels that lock when parked.
  • If you have a garage, use it, and remember to lock both the garage and the car.
  • Never leave your registration or other documents in the car – this makes it a simple and
    straightforward sell. Keep them in your purse or wallet instead.

Use a steering lock – either the factory fitted one or/and an aftermarket model; they add
time to starting the car, and deter the thief.

If you drive a model that is known to be attractive to car thieves – BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz
are continually among the most-stolen cars – take added precautions, and always be aware that
there is strong demand for cars such as these ‘stolen to order’. Be prepared, and never leave your
car unprotected.

These anti-theft tips were provided by Lewis Bassett from DandLock – The Last Locksmith You’ll Ever Need!.