How to avoid car theft

How to avoid car theft
In 2017, figures obtained by the RAC showed that there had been a 30% rise in car thefts in England and Wales between 2013 and 2016.

Reduce the chances of your car falling victim with these tips:

1. Lock your doors

Always make a point of locking your doors and taking your key with you, no matter how short your stop and never leave your car with the keys inside or the engine running.

2. Choose the right place to park

Don't just park in the first space you see - try to find a place that's well-lit and open to public view. If you need to use a car park, try to find one that's security patrolled, covered by CCTV, or that's approved for safer parking by Park Mark.

3. Don't display any valuables

Avoid car vandalism by taking your belongings with you when you park. Having your coat or bags in view, or just leaving loose change on the dashboard could be enough to tempt somebody to break in and leave you with a repair bill for a broken window.       

4. Take out your stereo and GPS

If your car stereo has a front panel that stops it from working when it's removed, take this with you. If it has a flap or cover, remember to shut this to shield your stereo from view. Take your GPS system with you too and clean any telltale suction marks from the windscreen

5. Add a car alarm or immobiliser

Most modern cars will come with a factory fitted immobiliser, but adding a Thatcham-approved car alarm can reduce your car insurance premium as well as the risk of car theft. If you have no car security at all, make fitting an immobiliser a top priority.

6. Be seen to be secure

Adding a visual deterrent to your car is a good way to avoid car theft and often enough to make a thief look for an easier option. Use a sturdy steering lock and have your car's registration number etched onto the windows.

7. Take good care of your keys

As cars have become more secure, stealing car keys has become a top priority for car thieves. Never leave your keys unattended in public and when you're at home make sure your keys are both out of sight and out of reach.

8. Keep your documents at home

Don't leave your logbook or service records in your car. It might seem like a sensible place for them, but if you're a victim of car theft, the documents will make it easier for the car to be sold and you could become a victim of identity fraud.

9. Don't lose your wheels

Alloy wheels can make your car a target for thieves, so protect your alloys with locking wheel nuts. These are cheap to buy, easy to fit and can be virtually impossible to remove without the correct key.

10. Stay safe in traffic

Car safety is just as important when you're in the car as it is when you're parked. If you're in slow-moving traffic or stuck in a jam, close your windows, lock your doors and keep valuables out of sight.