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How To Prevent Car Theft

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How to stop your car (or stuff in it) from getting nicked

You keep your car locked and secure most of the time, so it and your stuff is not going to get stolen, right? Wrong! The theft of passenger and light commercial vehicles alone has increased to around 12% in the last year or so to over 46,000 nationwide (and that’s not including your in-car theft scenarios either).

To avoid the hassle, it’s worth actioning some preventative measures to reduce your chance of suffering the loss in the first place.

Stop Breaking Into Car

So how can you avoid becoming one of the stats?

Who steals cars?

Auto-crime takes two forms – theft from cars and the theft of cars, and commonly involves either opportunists (who see your car as transport, a joy ride or a means for committing another type of crime), or professional car thieves who are motivated by stealing cars for profit. What they both have in common is that these types of scoundrels can steal your car (or your in-car stuff) in less than a minute.

What types of cars do they target?

In terms of car theft, sports cars and luxury vehicles are the highest risk cars to own (lucky you if you’ve got one), and older model cars are generally the main target for property theft.

Cars parked on streets account for most of the vehicles stolen, with public car parks, shopping centres, club car parks and off-street parking spots the next locations of choice.

So how can you avoid getting your car stolen?

Never leave your keys in the ignition when your car’s unattended, don’t hide spare keys anywhere in or on the vehicle, and always lock up when you’re paying for petrol. In addition, make sure you don’t have your personal address on any tags attached to your keys and don’t leave rego papers, your driver’s licence or any other personal papers in your car at any time.

Because modern cars can’t be hotwired like you see in the old movies (because of their engine immobilizers), thieves have to resort to other means in order to steal them, which often means breaking into your home. And if they know your address and the keys are easily accessed, hey presto! Car gone.

If you own an older vehicle, consider fitting it with an Australian-standards-approved engine immobilizer, or for a cheaper option, purchase some good old theft prevention hardware like a steering wheel lock. Most of them are unlocked with a separate key though, so keep this unobtainable as well.

Consider where you park. At home, parking off the street in a garage or behind locked gates is safer (insurance mobs prefer this as well). If you’re at a shopping centre, parking close to other cars will leave yours more prone to scratches and bumps from other drivers, but it also means your vehicle is less tempting to thieves who may be on the let’s-nab-a-car look out.

What about the stuff inside my car?

High-quality stereo systems are still one of the most popular items stolen from cars, however thieves will still go for valuables like mobile phones, sat navs, bags, sunnies, laptops, iPads and even loose change. Ironically, thieves will do hundreds of bucks worth of damage in order to nab even small amounts of money.

Stealing A Stereo From A Car

Remove the temptation, and hide stuff away before you park (they could be scoping!) – either lock valuables in the boot or take them with you (and don’t forget to lock all doors and windows as well). ‘Belongings theft’ is one of the most under reported crimes in our community. simply because victims are either not insured to cover the loss, have an excess attached to their insurance policy which exceeds the value of the loss, or they refuse to lose their no-claim bonus claiming for the loss. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.

Stealing Wallet From A Car

Number plate theft

Surprisingly, over 10,000 number plates are stolen each year in Victoria alone, with the motivation normally to do with petrol drive-offs or to avoid speeding or parking fines. Parking your car in a secure spot is your first prevention measure, but if you’re really concerned, consider installing one-way, anti-theft screws that can be installed using a standard screwdriver, but can’t be removed with conventional tools. These are available at most hardware or vehicle accessory retailers.

What to do if your car is stolen

Visit your local cop shop and report it immediately. You’ll need to give them your rego number, the make, model and colour of your vehicle and the location and time of its disappearance. You should also notify your car insurance company ASAP.

How to Prevent Vehicle Theft

Car theft is just one of your concerns. What if your car breaks down? We’ve gotU. Just pay as you go … as you need it!

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