Keeping Your Car Secure
Car theft is in decline – news that’s no doubt a relief for many drivers. A study from the Home Office, earlier this year, shows vehicle-related crime is at a 20-year low.
While thefts are less common, car thieves are having to become more sophisticated to overcome increased vigilance of owners and beat new and improved security devices. Keeping your car safe and protecting your valuables is arguably more important than ever.
We look at some of the simple steps you can take to make sure you keep your vehicle secure.
Where you keep your car
Electronic car locking systems and immobilisers, which prevent the car engine from running unless the right key is used, have become more difficult for thieves to beat.
While this technology has made it harder for some vehicles to be stolen, it’s still important to keep your vehicle somewhere that makes it difficult to steal to start with.
A locked garage or carport can work best, but if you have to park your car on a driveway, installing a security light acts as a good deterrent. Fitting a removable bollard or lockable gate at the end of your driveway can also create extra obstacles for thieves, dissuading them from trying to steal your vehicle.
If you don’t have a driveway and have to park your car on the road, choosing a well-lit area – like under a streetlight visible from your home – can also put off thieves.
How to keep your car
Theft can often be an impulsive crime, with thieves encouraged to break into a vehicle just by looking through the car window. One way to combat this is to not draw attention to your vehicle and limit what can be stolen.
Make sure you don’t leave any valuables on show – certainly don’t leave them in your car overnight. For example, if you have a removable radio, don’t leave it in the glove box.
It’s also advisable to keep your car tidy. A cluttered car could be hiding something valuable, whereas if there’s nothing on show, there’s less to attract a thief from breaking into your vehicle.
Also, never leave your keys in your vehicle and think about where you keep them in your house. It’s best to hide them from view and where a thief could potentially gain access, like a door or window.
The police suggest a number of steps to protect your vehicle on the Police UK Vehicle Crime web page. This includes having a routine in place when you exit your car to ensure you’ve removed the keys, the vehicle is locked and all windows are closed. It also encourages the use of theft resistant number plates and not storing your vehicle documentation, like the logbook, in the car.
As well as preventing car theft, keeping your vehicle secure can help improve your insurance premium – parking it in a locked garage, rather than on a roadside, for instance, can bring down costs.
To find out more about what else can increase your vehicle insurance, take a look at our blog post, What pumps up your premium?