Around 85,000 car thefts took place in the UK during 2017 and car thefts have risen by 30%* over the last three years.
To highlight the importance of vehicle safety, car leasing specialist Leasing Options, collaborated with BBC’s “Beat the Burglar” and Channel 4’s “Going Straight” security expert Michael Fraser to provide tips on how to keep your car safe from burglars.
Parking in public
Whether you like to park right by the door or avoid those pesky bollards, always park facing the wall in public car parks. This will minimise the chance of thieves making a quick getaway in your car. If they have to reverse, it will slow them down and they will be less likely to take the risk.
Always turn your car wheels into the curb
Surprisingly, a simple technique of stopping thieves from taking your vehicle is turning your wheels into the curb or towards another vehicle. This makes it really difficult for a thief to make a getaway in your car as they would have to make more manoeuvres.
Keep valuables out of sight
Although we are always reminded to keep our personal belongings out of sight in our cars, many of us forget to hide them away. Having visible items in your car shows thieves exactly what you have to steal and suggests there may be more items that are worth taking.
Don’t leave your handbag or keys near your front door
Did you know that the latest technique used by criminals to steal cars is letterbox fishing? Letterbox fishing is where thieves put a pole through a letterbox to pull over your handbag and take your keys. The burglar then has the opportunity to take your car and let themselves into your home. Always keep your handbag or keys away from ground level doors, ideally, you should leave them on the first floor or above.
Face your car towards the house
After a long day away from home, the way you park is the last thing on your mind. When you arrive at home most people tend to reverse on to their drive to make it easier for them to leave the house. However, doing this makes it easier for someone to take your car from your driveway. Make sure you park facing your house and don’t forget to lock your wheels too.
Change your habits
Have you ever stopped to think about how often you go about the same routine each day? It’s very easy to slip into habits but doing the same thing each day will make you an easy target for burglars. Consider switching the way you park and where you leave your items every five days to make it harder for criminals to guess your next move.
Keep it clear
Were you aware that windscreen marks are indicators to thieves that your car is worth stealing? Remove any wiring, Sat Nav mounts and marks from your windscreen before leaving the car. The suction mark from a Sat Nav is a sign that you have left valuables in your vehicle.
It may also sound crazy, but having a tidy car can fend off thieves as it shows that you take your car and its security seriously. If the car is untidy or has any items visible – it generally shows that the person is unorganised and they have something in the car to be taken.
Always take a look around
Believe it or not, taking a look around as soon as you leave the car can potentially deter thieves. It shows any potential thieves watching that you’re aware of your surroundings, as well as appearing to be security conscious.
Mike Thompson, brand manager at Leasing Options, said: “Michael has provided some great insight into how to avoid car theft, highlighting points that many of us probably did not know until now. We’re hoping that our research highlights the extent of car theft in the UK and the importance of taking extra time to ensure vehicle safety.”
Security expert, Michael Fraser, said: “Car burglaries are a regular occurrence in cities at this time of year and many people are unknowingly putting their cars at risk by not taking the correct precautions.
“Leaving cars in unsecure areas, such as dark car parks or under trees with no lighting, makes it easier for thieves to steal the vehicle and they know they are less likely to get caught on security camera footage.
“Members of the public could also be unaware that high valuable technology inside vehicles won’t be covered on car insurance policies, unless the driver has made the insurance provider aware of the items being left in the car.
“Unfortunately police forces don’t currently have enough resource to follow up on car theft crimes or home burglaries. These crimes are constantly being pushed down the list of priorities.”
Information on how to keep your car safe, visit: https://www.leasingoptions.co.uk/news/blog/dont-give-thieves-an-easy-ride-keep-your-car-safe-this-winter/4753