Nobody ever thinks they’ll become a victim of theft. It’s something that happens to other people; something we just hear about on the news. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth, with the latest Statista figures showing that car theft rates are rising dramatically, with well over 100,000 vehicles stolen in the UK last year alone.
Although you might think your vehicle is perfectly safe, it can all go wrong in just a matter of seconds, through just the smallest window of opportunity. Having your car stolen can quickly turn into a truly nightmarish scenario, particularly when you consider the fact that 77% of all stolen vehicles are never recovered.
Since a recent AA survey found that 49% of people will completely ignore the sound of a car alarm, drivers are now implementing extra security measures as a way of deterring potential thieves, with many installing a GPS vehicle tracker to improve the chances of recovery. So, how exactly can you prevent your car from being stolen?
1. Look After Your Keys
It’s so obvious, it actually seems a little silly to include this on our list. However, the latest ONS figures show that 43% of thieves will enter a vehicle through an unlocked door, while around 7% of all thefts involve gaining access via a stolen key. Of course, this sudden spike in vehicle crime is being largely attributed to the rise of keyless entry systems, since thieves can trick these vehicles into opening their doors.
Either way, every motorist needs to make sure their keys are safe and secure, no matter how obvious it may sound. Although your main set of keys will likely be stored in handbags or pockets, you need to be particularly careful when it comes to handling your spare set, since keeping them in your vehicle will present an opportunity too good to turn down.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check your car is actually locked when you leave it, especially if it uses a remote locking system.
2. Park Somewhere Safe
Your risk of vehicle theft will largely depend on where you park. After all, nothing deters thieves quite like a well-lit, spacious area with plenty of people around. In constrast, nothing is more inviting than a dark, secluded area where they’re unlikely to be disturbed.
Drivers with access to off-road parking should certainly make use of it, since thieves are obviously less inclined to go for vehicles stored safely in garages or gated driveways. If this isn’t an option, then you need to find a parking spot under a lamp post, within view of CCTV cameras or, preferably, your own property.
3. Invest in Security Devices
If your car was manufactured after 1998, then it should already be fitted with an alarm and immobiliser system. If you’re driving an older model, however, then you’ll need to invest in these devices as a matter of priority.
Despite the recent rise in theft rates, car security has improved enormously over the past 20 years or so, with advances in technology making it much more difficult for someone to successfully steal a vehicle. Somewhat inevitably, this leads many thieves to completely ignore the more expensive modern vehicles and instead focus their attention on older, less secure models.
So, although you might find it hard to believe, a thief could potentially target your 20-year-old Fiesta over a new 2019 model, and you need to ensure adequate security measures are in place. Alarms and immobilisers are a great place to start but, if you wanted to be a bit more obvious about things, you could also invest in handbrake and steering wheel locks.
4. Install a Vehicle Tracker
In most cases, we don’t truly consider the security of our car until it’s far too late. While a GPS tracker won’t prove very effective in preventing the initial theft, it will certainly increase the odds of recovering the vehicle and apprehending those responsible for stealing it. In many ways, this is your last line of defence. A lifeline to cling on to if the worst was to happen.
By installing a reliable car tracker, you’ll be able to keep track of your vehicle from absolutely anywhere, while the more modern designs can be set up to send alerts whenever it’s moved unexpectedly. Recent advances in GPS technology mean that car trackers can now accurately pinpoint your vehicle’s real-time position, making it much easier for the authorities to locate in the event of a theft.
In fact, investing in a Thatcham-approved model could even result in reduced insurance premiums, since most insurers now fully recognise the security benefits of modern GPS technology. After all, this is the only way you can feel truly confident in the well-being and safety of your vehicle.