You may think modern cars incorporate enough high tech security features to deter thieves but the truth is somewhat different. Although car theft numbers have dropped significantly over the last ten years, the better part of 70,000 cars are still stolen each year.
Greater London is the UK’s ‘theft hotspot’ with prestige cars most at risk – they filled the top ten of cars stolen and recovered in 2015 with no less than three Range Rover variants appearing on the list. If you’re thinking of running one as your next car the following tips may be of particular interest.
Keeping your car safe
A combination of taking basic security steps and perhaps investing in more security hardware could help ensure your car stays where you parked it.
Check it’s locked properly – remote control ‘plippers’ can make us complacent when locking the car. A quick ‘plip’ with the key and walking away may not be enough; it’s worth checking for certain the car has actually locked itself.
Thieves can use remote control blockers to interfere with the radio signal transmitted to the car by your key fob so stopping it locking; if you’re in any doubt the car is locked check it manually.
Leaving unlocked and engine running – never leave your car unlocked and unattended. Even popping back indoors for a few seconds to fetch something while leaving the car unlocked is all the time an opportunist thief needs to jump in and drive your car away.
Leaving the engine running in your unattended car is asking for trouble – and it’s illegal.
Parking carefully – try and take the time honoured advice of parking in a well lit street or car park, preferably amongst other vehicles. Thieves much prefer to work in dingier conditions rather than under strong street lighting.
Turn the front wheels towards the kerb when parking on the street or towards another car when using a car park. It makes it harder for the thief to move your car; likewise driving front first into a driveway or parking space makes it harder to quickly drive your car away as reversing will be involved.
Visual deterrents – investing in a visual deterrent such as a steering wheel lock can help. This extra level of security may make a thief think twice about trying to steal your car; they usually give themselves mere seconds to break into a car, so anything that could cause delays might dissuade them.
Valuables on display – don’t leave tempting items in clear view such as briefcases, cameras, sat navs or laptops. Even a plastic bag with basic shopping could tempt a thief to break in and see what’s inside. Take valuables with you or at least stow them out of sight in the boot.
Trackers – it’s worth fitting a Thatcham approved one to a prestige car; if the car is stolen the police can more easily find it. Advertising the fact the car has a tracker fitted will help deter the thief.
Take care of keys – modern key security which enables the car to ‘recognise’ its key, makes keyless theft hard for thieves, so they may try and steal this. Don’t leave yours lying about and ensure your property is secure as a thief may try and break in to get at your car key.
Much of the above is common sense and a matter of taking care and not taking any chances. Falling car theft figures and improved security tech has made some a little complacent; it still pays to be vigilant.