Is your car at risk?Your motor car is often your second most valuable asset and being car security conscious is important in its protection.
Government crime statistics show, that vehicle related crime has decreased since 1997- good news!However nearly half a million vehicles are still stolen in the UK every year and 40% of those are never returned to their owners.
Vehicle crime accounts for over 25% of ALL reported crime, 40% of vehicle crime occurs in the road outside the home and around 30% happens in car parks. Briefly, the government “car theft index” shows that: -
Older cars aged between 12 to 15 years are at the highest risk of being stolen accounting for around 40%.
A Home Office campaign is encouraging owners of older cars, to fit car security systems, immobilisers and other car security measures, such as, window etching, lockable wheel nuts and security marking of in-car entertainment equipment.
New cars aged between 0 to 3 years are at least risk, accounting for only 13% of stolen vehicles.Ultra modern car security equipment, especially electronic immobilisers, are now fitted as standard to new cars and proving very successful in deterring criminals. You should take this into account when replacing your car.
Theft of possessions from vehicles is the most prevalent of vehicle crimes, around 60%.
What can I do to help beat the car thief?
- Never leave your possessions in the car, or if you must, lock them in the boot, thus removing temptation for thieves.
- Fit an electronic engine immobiliser to prevent your car starting, a well proven method of preventing theft.
- If you have a garage at home use it and lock both the car and the garage. If you don’t have one, park in a well-lit street.
- When parking away from home try to park your car in an attended car park. Look for a public car park which complies with the police-approved Secured Car Parks Scheme.
- Never leave the keys in your car even at petrol stations, or loading or unloading the car anywhere, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
- Use a steering wheel lock.
- Have a professionally fitted car security alarm installed, it can deter thieves from stealing your car or taking possessions from it.
- To prevent theft of wheels fit locking wheel nuts.
- Have the last 7 digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), or your car registration number etched onto all windows, both front and rear screens and your headlights.
- Security mark your car equipment, car radio, CD players Etc. with your registration number or post code.
- Never keep your car’s documents in the car.
Car Security Systems
There is a wide range of vehicle security devices available, alarm systems, steering wheel locks, immobilisers Etc. Look for those approved by “Sold Secure” administered by the Master Locksmiths Association, or “Thatcham” which is the Insurance Industry’s own approval scheme.
The most successful recent development in car security, is an in-car tracking device, these systems use radio or satellite technology to locate stolen cars. For Example:- The BT Trackit Vehicle Tracking System…Pin-points The Exact Location Of Your Vehicle.
It is recommended that car security systems should be installed by a professional, either your car dealer, or an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.
This is an excellent scheme offered by some police forces, which can protect your car at times when it is not normally on the road. Membership is free. Contact your local police station to find out if they provide this service.
When registered on the scheme, you will be issued with two Vehicle Watch stickers that are displayed on the windscreen and rear window of your car. Different coloured stickers denote the time of day that your car is not normally in use, i.e. orange for day time (10a.m. till 4.30p.m.) and yellow for night time (12.30a.m.to 5 a.m.).
If the vehicle is seen on the road displaying a sticker showing it should not be in use then, the police will stop and question the driver.
Car Key Crime
These days car thieves are now turning to new methods of car crime, such as “key crime” which means stealing the keys to the car first, rather than having to break in and bypass the ignition switch. Keep them in a secure place at home and at work – burglars do break into houses and offices to steal car keys.
A study by the Metropolitan Police revealed that most car key crime occurs when people are loading or unloading their cars, and thefts of car keys from homes accounted for 29% of cases.
Your motor insurance policy requires you to take care of your property at all times, taking reasonable care to ensure your car isn’t stolen. The definition of “reasonable care” is unclear, but do keep this in mind when leaving your car, or your claim for theft may be affected.
Again liaise with your Insurance Company on car security, as most firms offer discounts if you use “approved” car security systems.
Take action NOW to beat the car thief. !