With over 100,000 cars stolen in England and Wales, and 280,000 recorded offences of theft from vehicles each year (according to police figures for 2017), awareness of both planned and opportunistic car crime might save you from the inconvenience of having your car stolen.
- Always check your door handles are locked before you leave the car. Make sure your car is locked and be careful not to accidentally unlock your car when you put your keys in your pocket.
- Remove anything from your car that could be of value to thieves.
- Use a locked garage if you have one.
- When looking for a public parking space try to use a car park that offers good security, such as one accredited by the Safer Parking Scheme. Avoid parking in dark streets away from public activity.
- If your car has a keyless entry system then keep the key in a signal blocking pouch and keep it as far away from the car as possible.
- Always keep your keys in a drawer or other safe place, not on the hall table or a convenient rack near the front door – keys are frequently ‘fished’ by thieves using a pole and hook through the letterbox.
- Consider using a mechanical steering locking device – this could put off an opportunistic thief.
- Fit a Thatcham certified immobiliser. These aren’t as vulnerable to some of the new electronic techniques that thieves may use to bypass your car’s standard security features or to override a keyless entry system.
- Consider fitting a tracking system to help find your car if it’s stolen (for upmarket cars this may be an insurance requirement).
- If you’re selling a car, always accompany potential buyers on a test drive. And if you change seats, take the keys with you and hand them over when you get back in the car.
Mike and Jim discuss the topic in the UKMotorTalk podcast.