Deterring Car Thieves

Unfortunately, it seems the levels of car crime are on the increase; however, there are a number of things you can do to deter the criminals and keep you and your car safe.

Locking Your Car

Always lock your car, even if you are just getting out of it for a few seconds to get something from your house or to go to pay for your petrol. Close all the windows (and the sunroof) and activate your alarm and immobiliser.

Keep your doors locked whilst you are driving to prevent thieves from breaking in whilst you are stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic. Some cars may be programmed to lock doors automatically as soon as you start to drive. If someone does attempt to break into your car whilst you are in it, flash your lights and sound your horn to attract attention. However, if there is nobody around to help, or the thief threatens violence, it is usually best to simply hand over whatever it is they are trying to steal, even if this is your car. Remember - your car and your belongings are replaceable - you are not.

Parking

When parking at home, always use your garage if you have one. A securely locked garage will deter all but the most determined of thieves. If you don't have a garage, park in a well-lit, open place. If you park on the road, you may want to leave your car parked between two others; this will make it harder for thieves to tow it away.

When you're out and about, choose a busy, well lit place to park, preferably in an attended car park, close to CCTV cameras. Look for public car parks that are part of the police-approved Safer Parking scheme.

Keep Your Belongings Safe

Never leave anything on display when you park your car - even a carrier bag or coat can tempt a thief. You should also keep valuable items out of sight whilst you are driving; there are some criminals who may try to break into your car whilst you are waiting in a queue.

You should also avoid storing any item in your car if at all possible, especially when it's parked overnight, even if the car is parked on your drive. Over 6 out of every 10 thefts are from outside the owner's homes.

Security Systems

Fitting a security measure to your car can help to deter thieves. These may include electronic engine immobilisers to prevent your car from starting, car alarms to deter thieves from stealing your car or taking items from it, and locking wheel nuts to stop thieves from taking your wheels. You may also want to consider installing a tracking device, which can automatically start tracking a stolen car within minutes.

Security Markings

It's worth having your car registration number or the last 7 digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto your glass, including the windows, front and rear windscreen and your headlamps. You can also mark other components such as your car stereo. This security etching makes life harder for a thief who wants to sell the parts or change the vehicle's identity. Make sure that you display stickers to show that your car has been marked.