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Keep Your Car Safe From Thieves

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 27 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Opportunist Thief Car Thieves Car Thief

It seems that stories of car crime are never far from the news. But it's not all doom and gloom - there are a whole host of ways that you can protect your car from thieves, and most of them are so obvious that you know them already.

1. Make Sure Your Car is Secure:

This is the most obvious, and as such, the most overlooked aspect of car security. It only takes an opportunist a few seconds to take your car, but your insurance company will probably take even less time to decide not to issue you with a payout, if that's how your car got stolen.

2. Never Leave Your Car Unattended With The Keys in it.

More obvious than the Pope's religion, this still catches many people out. Easy to do when you're distracted - you just pop into the garage to pay for your petrol, and before you can say 'Someone's nicked my car' - Someone's nicked your car.

Motorists are especially vulnerable to this in the winter months, when they go out to 'defrost' their cars, then head back into the house and wait for it to thaw out. Thieves wait for owners to go back into the house, open the car doors and within seconds they're off, and so is the car. Some people try to be clever by putting the key in the ignition then locking the doors with the spare. But you should remember that it costs a thief nothing to smash your window and steal your car, so you really shouldn't give them the opportunity.

This particular type of seasonal theft is known as 'Frosting' and was reportedly on the increase over last winter. The only way to beat it is to invest in a good coat, a warm hat, scarf and gloves, and stay in the car while it thaws out.

3. Check All Points of Entry Are Secured:

This means windows, doors, sunroof, and boot. Even if a window is a tiny bit open, a thief can put pressure on it and either force it down so they can open the door, or force it to break. The same applies with a sunroof, a tiny bit open and they can prise it off.

4. Don't Let Criminals 'Window Shop' From Your Car.

You might be surprised to discover that cars are stolen from twice as much as they are actually stolen, and the rate of break-ins tops 1 per hour in some areas of the UK.

Now most of us have gone to our cars at some point and realised that we've left something we shouldn't have done on the seat, floor or parcel shelf. You might have forgotten to take the front fascia off the radio, or maybe your mobile has slipped out of your pocket and ended up in full view on the seat. Either way, you feel a sense of relief that you got away with it this time.

So to beat the opportunist thieves, always check your car before you leave it parked somewhere and check it again from the outside in case there is something you missed or couldn't see from inside the vehicle.

Remove shoeboxes, bags or anything that could contain anything that may interest a thief - even if you know there is nothing in there, a thief doesn't.It's you who will foot the bill if a thief decides it's worth the chance, so ask yourself, is an empty bag in view worth the price of replacing your locks?

5. Choose Where You Park Carefully

Parking in a badly lit urban area makes it more likely that your car will be targeted by thieves. Go to a secure car park if possible.

If there isn't an approved car park available, park in the most well-lit area you can find, which will also increase your personal safety as well as make your car less likely to fall foul of thieves.

If you're visiting an event, for example a concert or football match - dig deeper and pay the bit extra to park in a manned car park. If you don't want to pay out, park as far away as you can, and remove any references to the team or band you are watching as car thieves in the area will be looking for people who are going to the event safe in the knowledge that you won't be coming back for a good few hours.

6. Make Your Car Look Secure - Even if it Isn't.

Even if it's not got an alarm, stick stickers on it saying it has. Invest in a steering lock and fit immobilisers if you can. Nothing will stop someone who really, really wants your car, but if you can get an opportunist thief to look at your car and decide it's too much of a risk, then you're better off than many.

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