How to prevent theft and stolen cars

Vehicle theft has increased by 30% in 3 years, and break-ins have also increased dramatically, making it more important than ever to protect your car and take precautionary measures to prevent any theft.

Keep your keys in a safe place.

When you are out and about make sure you are not leaving your keys unattended in a place that they could easily be picked up by someone else. Some people leave their keys on the tyres of their car, this is an obvious place for thieves to look and is very risky. Ensure that you know where your keys are at all times and keep them in a safe place, while you are out.

Lock it.

Ensure that you lock your car when you leave it parked somewhere. Make sure that you have heard the noise and seen the lights flash to know for sure that your car has been locked. If you still aren’t sure, pull on the handle to double check.

Park your car safely.

Park your car in a safe place, in an area that is well lit and a reasonably populated area. This will deter the thieve's in the first place as it will be a higher chance that they will be caught while breaking into your car. If possible park in garages whenever you can.

Don’t leave your car running unattended.

If you are leaving your vehicle, no matter how short the period, don’t leave your car running or the keys in the ignition, as you are inviting someone to easily just jump into your car and drive off. It only takes a split second for someone to do this, and although you might think that someone wouldn't be brave enough to do it, it does happen.

Don’t leave your visible valuables in your car.

If you leave valuables or bags and boxes in sight, thieves have more of an incentive to break into your car. Hide any valuables or bags out of view from people walking by and don’t leave any valuables in your car unsupervised for a long period or overnight.

Use technology.

  • Tracking device

A tracking device uses GPS technology to show where your car is at all times. Although it won’t protect your car from theft, it comes in handy when someone has already stolen your car, as you can track where they have taken it, giving the police a much better chance of getting your car back to you and catching the thief. A way that this could prevent theft, is by having a sticker on your car advertising that it has a tracking device which acts as a deterrent because thieves often won’t have the skills to deactivate it or want the hassle of doing so and don’t want to risk capture by stealing a car the police can easily track and find. Tracking devices, however, are quite expensive.

  • Cameras

Fitting CCTV cameras into your cars is a great way to deter thieves at they will not want their faces to be filmed. Putting a sticker on your car to show that it has CCTV inside is a great way to stop someone from breaking in. Some cameras are motion activated so that when something moves in the vehicle, they will switch on and start filming, making it a lot less pricey than having them on all the time. If having these cameras haven’t already deterred the thief and they have still broken into your vehicle and either stolen it or the contents inside, the cameras could help you catch the person who did it. As most cameras feed the footage back to an app, even if the car is completely gone, you will still be able to see the recordings it made at the time, which you can hand over to the police.

Other devices.

  • Wheel, tyre and brake locks

A steering wheel lock bar slides over the steering wheel and locks in place, stopping anyone from being able to turn the wheel, without having the key to unlock it. The bar is usually made out of hardened metal, which makes it very difficult to break through. It is easy to use and is cost-effective, with many brands costing less than £50. The tyre lock is extremely similar, except it is just placed on the car tire instead of the steering wheel. A brake lock is slightly different as it placed behind the brake making the car impossible to drive. This equipment doesn’t actually stop people from breaking into your vehicle to steal contents inside. However, it does mean that they won’t be able to drive off with your car.

  • Kill Switch

A kill switch stops the thief from being able to start your car as it cuts the fuel to the car or shuts off the electrical system. The kill switch is disengaged with a plastic key or an entry code. Although it does nothing to protect your valuables in your car and won’t stop the thief breaking in, it can prevent the car itself being taken anywhere. A kill switch is inexpensive and typically costs under £100.

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