Stay Safe & Avoid Car Crime

Posted on: 08 January 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Car crime is on the up so there is still a need to be vigilant and take precautions.

Gone are the days when cars were stolen by smashing the side window and 'hot wiring' the ignition.

Criminals now need the keys in order to steal a vehicle, therefore car owners need to ensure they do not leave their keys unattended.

‘Car jacking’ has once again been hitting the headlines and already a number of people across the UK have fallen foul to thieves looking to steal cars that have been left unattended whilst the keys are in the ignition.

Looking after your car keys should be the first step in vehicle security, as data reveals that 75% of all stolen cars in the last 3 months have been stolen as a result of key theft.

In addition, if the keys are in the car and the engine is running, owners won’t be insured for the loss of their vehicle, making it a very costly mistake.

Advice To Avoid Car Crime

  • Never leave the keys in the ignition, even if you are just stopping quickly.
  • Always lock and secure your vehicle.
  • Make sure you don’t leave belongings on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you.
  • Fit a stereo with removable front panel and take it with you when you leave the car. Mark it with your vehicle registration.
  • Never leave car documents or spare keys inside the car.
  • Keep doors locked and windows up when driving.
  • Park in busy or well-lit and attended car parks near CCTV cameras.
  • If you have a garage, use it.
  • Don’t leave the car unattended when waiting for it to defrost.
  • At home, don’t keep keys in a place where they can be seen or accessed from outside.

Notorious Car Crimes

  1. Burglary & Theft Of Keys: Still a very popular means for stealing cars. Often where the keys are left out on hall table, kitchen worktop or hanging on hooks in the kitchen or hallway.
  2. Leaving The Engine Running – Examples include clearing ice or an early visit to a newsagent. Visits to the recycling point at the supermarket before/ after shopping
  3. Identity Theft - Criminals steal the identity of an owner, then use forged or stolen documents to obtain duplicate keys.
  4. Selling The Car - Criminals ask to take a 'test drive' and drive off whilst owner is getting in or getting out of the car. Another ploy is making 'payment' with forged banker’s draft.
  5. Lifestyle Criminals - This is where the criminals carry out surveillance on the car user and takes the best opportunity to steal the keys. Examples include when the car owner leaves a key in a bag, on the table or in jacket pocket unattended in the pub.

Do you have any top tips to avoid car crime? Have you been a victim of car crime recently?

If so, let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.

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