You may think that it won’t ever happen to you, but with over 250,000 vehicle break-ins and 85,000 vehicle thefts in the UK in 2016, thieves pose a very real risk. Don’t fall foul of these five common security mistakes.
1: Leaving valuables on display
Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your valuables on display, even if you’re just popping away for a few minutes. Make sure to remove any bags or other items when you leave the car, or put them out of sight in the boot, glove compartment or under the seats. If you use a sat nav, don’t leave the dock on your windscreen or dashboard, as this alerts thieves to the presence of potentially valuable tech.
2: Unsecured parking
Always park your car in secure car parks. Well-lit, busy car parks with security staff are much safer than quiet backstreets. While it’s tempting to save a bit of money, it will cost you much more than the price of a few hours’ parking if you’re targeted by a thief. At home, always park your car outside your house or on your drive, and if you’ve got a garage, use it! Clear out any junk and use your garage for its intended purpose: keeping your car safe.
3: Forgetting to lock your car
Never present the opportunity of a car that’s easy to get into. If a thief tries your car door and it’s locked, this may be enough to put them off. While most modern cars auto-lock after a certain period of time, don’t get into the habit of relying on this. Always be sure that you have locked your car.
4: Ignoring your car alarm
We’ve all experienced someone’s car alarm going off for seemingly no reason and, while this can be very annoying, it’s not wise to ignore it either. If you get into the habit of ignoring your car alarm, or simply resetting it without checking it out if it does go off, you run the risk of not being aware that someone is trying to break into your car, even though the alarm is trying to warn you. Always treat any alarm as a real warning. If your alarm keeps triggering without reason, take it to a professional to get it checked out and fixed to avoid false alarms.
5: Not using a steering wheel or handbrake lock
Steering wheel or handbrake locks prevent a would-be car thief from being able to drive away. As they are clearly visible from outside the car, they are a great deterrent. Thieves are opportunists, and if they can see that the car is not driveable, they will likely move on. They can be picked up relatively cheaply, although the more you spend, the better quality and higher security you’ll get, so consider getting something a little more heavy duty for greater peace of mind.