Many car owners don’t consider car theft until it happens, but unfortunately it does. According to the Metropolitan Police there are several ways to make a thief’s job more difficult, prompting them to move on.
1. You’d be surprised how many motorists don’t bother to lock their vehicle overnight, or even when stepping away from the car for some reason. Leaving the engine running while not at the wheel is illegal by the way! A good reason to make a habit of locking your car is, insurers may not pay out if the car was unlocked.
2. Car manufacturers work hard to ensure that their vehicles are pretty burglar proof, and their efforts are quite effective. However, thieves will always do their best to gain access to your beloved car, often by stealing and cloning your key or fob. Keep keys and fobs out of harm’s way secure in the home [not near the front door]. Keep electronic keys in a special pouch to avoid thieves scanning them from outside and getting into your car.
3. Without being too pessimistic, even when in your car, keep doors locked. If the vehicle behind bumps you, make sure you pull over somewhere safe where there are other people. If you are suspicious that the knock was intentional call the police to be on the safe side.
4. If you are threatened hand over the car keys, and contact the police rather than risk being assaulted. Some modern vehicles have clever alarm and tracker features, which sometimes bring the car to a halt. Very frustrating for burglars!
5. Avoid parking in unsafe secluded or dark areas, opting for a busier, well lit street if possible.
6. Steering locks that are built in aren’t always effective, and can sometimes be forced or broken. There are now steering wheel, clutch pedal or gear lever security devices available for extra protection.
7. Thieves will even steal vehicles by posing as towaway crews, they may have an unmarked vehicle, and no uniforms. The police advise that it’s always wise to report this activity if you spot it.
8. As mentioned earlier, electronic devices can be obtained by undesirables enabling them to prevent your car locking system from working. Once you have left, the thief can enter your vehicle, so always check your car is locked. A quick check to see if there is anybody hanging around is recommended too.
9. Vehicle cloning changes the identity of a vehicle, and can be carried out by simply adding stolen number plates. Before purchasing a vehicle, check the DVLA V5 document ensuring that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the vehicle is the same as on the document.
10. If your car has an engine management diagnostic port, think about fitting a lockable cover. This is because these ports may be used to open vehicle doors, bonnets and boots
11. Thieves seem to come up with new ideas with depressing frequency, and another way they try to get their hands on a vehicle without paying is ‘test drive theft’. This involves the thief answering an advert for a car sale, then requesting a test drive. The owner is left looking at his or her watch after the thief has driven off into the sunset. Accompany any prospective buyer, rather than handing them your keys and vehicle. Check their documentation such as driving licence and insurance also.
Hopefully these tips will foil the thieves and keep you and your car safe.