1. Fit a tracking tracking device
Don’t think fitting a GPS tracker to your car has to be expensive or is reserved for high end luxury cars. GPS tracker from iTrack start from just £35.00 and can be fitted in seconds.
Imagine you hear a noise on your drive in the middle of the night. Look outside. Your pride & joy is gone. Without a GPS tracker your chances of seeing that vehicle again a very slim. However, suppose you’d fitted a iTrack GPS tracker – you would simply pull out your mobile phone, open the free app and see in real time on Google Maps where your car is going. You can then call the Police and rely the information to catch them red handed.
iTrack even offer hard wired trackers that can remotely immobilise the vehicle and cut the fuel supply to the engine – clever eh?!
Most modern cars will come with a factory fitted immobiliser, but adding a car alarm can reduce your car insurance premium as well as the risk of car theft.
Fitting a tracking device won’t prevent a vehicle from being stolen, but it will increase the chances of it being recovered and returned by the police.
2. Don’t just rely on your key fob
Always locking your car when you leave it goes without saying, but make sure you double check the car is actually locked.
Some vehicles will use an audible or visual signal, while others will feature ‘pins’ on the inside of the windows, which will lower when the doors have been locked.
Don’t simply rely on your key fob, as some thieves use ‘jammers’ to intercept the signal between the fob and the car, leaving the vehicle unlocked and vulnerable to theft. These signal jammers might be in a criminal’s pocket or left in the bushes at the side of a car park, so be on your guard.
It might seem like a hassle to check every door, including the boot, but it’s the only sure-fire way of ensuring the car is locked.
3. Avoid being a victim of a ‘relay attack’
Latest figures released by vehicle tracking specialists, revealed that 96% of motorists are at risk of having their car stolen using a ‘relay attack’.
An increasing number of car thieves are using this method, which involves two criminals working together using electronic signal relay devices.
One criminal uses a device to receive the key signal from inside the home, transferring the signal to a second box, which is placed alongside the car. In effect, this tricks the car into ‘thinking’ the key is there, allowing the thieves to unlock the vehicle and drive away.
Although the signal can pass through doors, walls and windows, it cannot penetrate metal, so placing the keys inside a metal box, signal blocking wallet or safe will protect your vehicle from a ‘relay attack’.
4. 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.
If you’re at the shops or in a busy town centre car park, you should park close to other shoppers, rather than away from other cars.
Thieves will be less likely to target your vehicle if they believe they might be disturbed.
5. Don’t display any belongings
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.
If you have a parcel shelf or load cover in the boot, it might be best to open or remove it, which will show would-be car thieves that there’s nothing to steal.
6. Take out your stereo and sat-nav
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 sat-nav system with you too, remembering to remove the holder and to clean any tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen.
7. 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 lock for the steering wheel, pedals or gearstick, and have your car’s registration number etched onto the windows.
These might be old-school deterrents, but they’re making a comeback in the digital age. Many thieves are opportunistic, and they might pass on a car they perceive to be too much hassle.
8. 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.
Some criminals have been known to use wire to remove keys through a letterbox, so avoid keeping them in the porch or hallway.
But never take the keys upstairs or hide them in the bedroom. If a thief is that determined to gain access to a vehicle, better to let them take it than to put you or your family at risk.
9. 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.
Similarly, don’t leave letters, bank statements or forms of identification in the car. Again, this puts you at risk of identity theft.
10. 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 very difficult to remove without the correct key.
It’s possible to purchase a locking wheel nut remover over the internet, but a lock will deter opportunist thieves.
11. 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.
12. Don’t leave your car running
It might be tempting to leave the car running – especially if you’re warming the cabin on a frosty morning – but you run the risk of having the car stolen.
Take care when de-icing the car, as an opportunistic thief could steal the vehicle in a couple of seconds.
The same is true when popping into a shop, dropping the children at the school gate, or meeting somebody at the station. Switch off the engine and lock the doors.