- Ideally a garage would be the safest place to park your vehicle over-night. However, most motorists will only have access to park their vehicle on a driveway, if this is the case you could install motion sensitive lighting around the vehicle to deter thieves. If you are only able to park your vehicle on the street ensure it is left in a well lit area that has CCTV surveillance around the local area whenever possible.
- Look after your keys. One of the easiest ways for a thief to steal your vehicle is to have the keys. Avoid leaving them in a visible or easily accessible place in your house and the common mistake of leaving them on a table when you’re ordering food/drink as this is an open invitation for someone to just take them.
- It is advisable that you have an alarm fitted to your vehicle. Most vehicles will have a factory-fitted alarm as standard but if you don’t have one then you may want to consider having an after-market alarm fitted. Having an alarm fitted to your vehicle can also reduce the cost of your insurance, depending on the type and quality of the alarm fitted this can greatly reduce your premiums - car alarms vary from detecting a broken window to someone opening the bonnet so be sure to ask your insurer.
- Opportunist thieves break into vehicles to steal anything from your radio to a handbag. Eliminate the temptation. Remove any portable items from your vehicle when you leave it, this includes even empty bags. If you are unable to take these items with you lock them away out of sight, preferably in the boot rather than the glove compartment. For peace of mind you could even empty the glove compartment and leave it open to show you have no valuables locked away there. If you have a portable Sat-Nav make sure you put the holder out of sight and wipe any suction marks from the windscreen if necessary.
- An immobiliser fitted to the vehicle can deter criminals from stealing your vehicle but not breaking into it, as this only prevents the vehicle from starting. Having an immobiliser can also reduce your insurance premiums as well, providing that it is approved by the insurer.
- Be wary of number plate theft, if your number plate is stolen you should report it to the police straight away however trivial it seems, as you could incur unwanted penalty charges for speeding, parking, etc. and even be associated with a criminal offence.
- Steering wheel, handbrake and gearstick locks are a relatively cheap way of deterring thieves, but do they work? Thieves can easily remove them within minutes, but you could still use them as an extra deterrent because they are likely to put off most opportunist and inexperienced criminals.
All of the above can’t guarantee that your vehicle won’t be subject to crime however, by following the above tips you’ll be making it difficult for criminals, which will reduce the risk of your vehicle being broken into or stolen. Taking some of these measures may also reduce your insurance premiums so be sure to ask your insurer.