Vehicle crime accounts for more than a quarter of all recorded crime in the UK and costs the taxpayer more than £3 billion a year, not to mention the negative impact it can have on our car insurance premiums. Cars can be stolen to order or targeted for a particular part, such as the catalytic converter. But more often than not, vehicle criminals are simply opportunists looking for an ‘easy steal’ or quick win. There are many car security tips that you can follow and measures to outsmart the criminals to help prevent you from becoming a victim of this behaviour.
Car security devices
The three main security devices are:
Car alarm – Alarms deter thieves from not only stealing the car itself, but also breaking into it to steal its contents. These are usually included as standard on newer vehicles but you could have one fitted if your vehicle is without one.
Car immobiliser – These prevent a car from being started by someone who doesn’t have the proper key, preventing the car from being driven away.
Steering, gearstick and handbrake locks – Using a steering wheel lock every time you leave your car makes it harder for thieves to drive it away and opportunists can be deterred.
Tracking your stolen vehicle
It’s a good idea to have tracking systems in place to make it easier to trace and identify your car if determined or experienced criminals manage to get past its security.
You can mark both the car and its contents, such as sat-navs and the radio, by writing on them with a UV pen or with more sophisticated micro dots that are encoded with your details. Another option is to fit a tracking system, although this can be quite expensive.
More tips for better car security
Secure parking – If you have a garage or driveway, use it. If you have to park on the street, you want it to be well-lit, busy, and ideally in sight of a CCTV camera. When using car parks, opt for one with a ticket barrier or attendant if possible.
Valuables – The simplest rule is never leave anything in your car. If you have to keep items in the car, the boot is the safest place, not under the seats or in the glove box. In the case of sat-navs, remove the cradle too and wipe away any suction marks on the window to prevent someone breaking into your car to see if the device is hidden somewhere.
Lock your car – Even if you’re only leaving the car for a short while, such as at a petrol station, lock your car and close any windows (unless there is an animal on board, then leave a little gap). And always make sure you have the keys on you – never in the ignition, no matter what.
Keys – Many of us have a habit of leaving keys on a sideboard by the front door. Burglars have been known to reach through with a pole and hook them on the end. Instead, put keys in a drawer or cupboard away from any windows or doors where they might be seen, or keep them in your bag or jacket.
Find further information here on car insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019 to get a quote.