Vehicle crime levels are decreasing according to the numbers published in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) which covers offences against private and company owned vehicles. According to the CSEW in the end of 2013 the vehicle-related theft level fell by 10% compared to 2012. The situation in 2013 is even more encouraging when compared to the numbers from previous years:
- Compared with the 2007/08 survey there has been a 34% decrease in vehicle-related thefts.
- When compared to 2002/03 a decrease of 59% is evident.
- The comparison with mid-1990s numbers shows a dramatic and constant decrease in vehicle-related thefts.
This is certainly a very good news and inline with the improvements in vehicle security systems, however, these systems can only prevent vehicle theft to some extend. There is a big role each driver has to play in order to prevent or at least make it harder for vehicle-related thefts to occur. Some of the measures might seem obvious to some but worth mentioning anyway since it can make your vehicle less attractive to the thief and reduce the opportunities for it to be stolen or vandalised:
- Fit your vehicle with appropriate vehicle security system
- Watch where you are parking your vehicle
- Don’t leave anything on a show
- Lock your vehicle every time, even if it is for a minutes or two
Fit your vehicle with appropriate vehicle security system
If your car has an vehicle alarm fitted you need to make sure that it works flawlessly. Get the system checked by your local garage regularly and if you are not happy with the performance ask your vehicle to be fitted with the new one which is certified by Tatcham Research – an industry standard.
If you have recently bought a new car do not assume that it comes with the vehicle alarm already fitted. You might be surprised but some of the entry level models aren’t necessarily fitted with an alarm, even if they have central locking in place.
It is not only advisable to install a properly functioning vehicle alarm system for security reasons but the vehicle insurers might offer you lower premiums if you fit an industry standard alarm system.
A properly working vehicle alarm system should be always complemented with an immobiliser. There are two types of immobilisers – electronic and manual. Electronic types interrupt the ignition circuit and can only be unlocked when the car key is in ignition. The latter ones are known as steering or gearbox locks which are not sophisticated but serve the purpose as it would take thieves longer time than they want to spend to remove them.
To add an additional layer of security you could opt for a tracking system to be installed in your vehicle. It had been estimated that over 95% of cars fitted with trackers are recovered from which 86% within 24 hours of theft.
In general owners of expensive and rare vehicle models opt for the tracking but this should not deter you from using the technology for your next Vauxhall Astra model.
Watch where you are parking your vehicle
Finding a good parking spot is not easy especially in a busy areas like city centres. We almost feel “proud” when we managed to “secure” that good spot just in right place at the right moment. Quite often we opt for a place in the corner rather than for a paid parking areas thinking about saving some money and quite often we overlook the safety issue. Unfortunately it takes only one mistake of forgetting to lock your vehicle or parking in the wrong area and your vehicle is gone.
Here are some points and guidelines to consider when looking for a perfect parking spot for your vehicle:
- Park your car in the garage if you have one or park on a well lit driveway or hard standing rather than in the street. If your house or apartment block has no dedicated car park rise this issue with the landlord or property managing agent.
- When you are looking for a parking spot in the city or somewhere far from home try to get one which is well lit and overlooked.
- It is advisable to use public car parks but make sure to find the one that is always supervised or has sign of Park Mark® Safer Parking Facility. These have been approved by the police as safer environment for you and your vehicle.
Don’t leave anything on a show
A considerable amount of vehicle-related thefts are opportunistic. Thieves break-in to steal some valuable items on a display. The result and consequences can be as catastrophic and costly as losing the car itself. In order to prevent such incidents you might consider following some simple rules:
- Do not leave any expensive goods visible in your car such as jewelry, purse, mobile phone or a bag.
- If you must leave them in the car, hide them in the glove compartment or some other storage places.
- Even such items like sat navs and radio/cd players can be quite a tempting price to vandalise your car. These items can be easily removed and stored while you are away from your vehicle.
Lock your vehicle even if it is for a minutes or two
- Don’t forget to take your ignition keys with you whenever you leave your vehicle. Close the windows and lock the doors. No matter how short is your absence, not even when you are paying for the fuel and the gas station.
- Always engage the steering lock.
- The remote operation keys are great invention but you might unknowingly press the button to unlock. Double check that you have indeed locked your vehicle before you leave.
- It is a security risk when you leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running to warm it up or defrost the windows. It is also not advisable tactics if you are seriously thinking of saving on your fuel expenses.
- Never leave your vehicle keys on display, be that at your house or in a public area. Recent improved security measures changed the tactics that car thieves use. They are now after your electronic keys.
We have more advice to give if you are interested. Here are some related articles that you might be interested and there are more related resources available in case you have more questions.
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