Park it and Protect it
A car is one of the biggest investments you will make but the freedom it gives you to go where you want, whenever you want makes it invaluable. When a burglar looks at your vehicle they can see the weaknesses that make your vehicle an opportunity no matter the cost to anyone else. Between 2011 and 2012, five in every 100 households experienced a car theft. The position of your car can make it vulnerable to the hands of others so it is important when you leave your vehicle to follow these simple steps whether you’re going on holiday for a week or just parking overnight.
‘A vehicle in a well-lit area is less likely to be targeted because it makes the thief easier to detect and lights indicate it’s a high footfall area.’
When your car is going to be parked somewhere overnight, make sure you choose a well-lit area preferably covered by CCTV. If possible, parking directly under a street light is the best option but make sure you are aware of any street light restrictions in the area. You can find out the times the lights turn off from your local council. A vehicle in a well-lit area is less likely to be targeted because it makes the thief easier to detect and lights indicate it’s a high footfall area. This is also important if you are parking during the day but know you will be returning to the car when it’s dark, because not only does it protect your vehicle but it will increase your personal safety as well.
In some cases, a vehicle’s greatest weakness is its owner because all it takes is a flicker of your attention to change the situation. For example, the cold weather means frosty mornings and the streets are lined with people waking up that little bit earlier to de-ice the car but before they start scraping they will put the key in the ignition to get the heating on. If ice is covering the windows, then you can’t see what’s happening at the other side of the vehicle so someone could use an unsupervised open door and take off very quickly because they’ve already got the keys. This can also happen when people need to get something from the boot, or pop something in the post box at the side of the road, or even just to run in the house because they’ve forgotten something.
‘…you should always make sure the car is locked especially if you use automatic keys, just check with the handles because numerous thieves are using signal jammers that mean you haven’t really locked it and they can get in with ease.’
Many car thefts happen without any external damage because it is done using keys or it is left unlocked. It is very important wherever you are to have your keys safe and secure. When you’re at home do not leave your keys in plain sight and within reach of entrances because people can use wires and hooks to get them through the letter box, or simply take them when they’re left in front of an open window. Keeping your keys safe is also important outside the house so do not leave them in a pocket easy to reach or in your bag when it’s left unsupervised. To be sure, you should always make sure the car is locked especially if you use automatic keys, just check with the handles because numerous thieves are using signal jammers that mean you haven’t really locked it and they can get in with ease.
Another way to increase the security of your car is to keep it empty of anything important or expensive. If you leave all your shopping in the car overnight or leave your purse sat on the front seat, then they are visible to passers-by who may see it as a valuable opportunity. It’s not just items of obvious value that you should keep safe at home. Car ownership documents should be kept at home and not left inside the car because they act as proof the vehicle is yours, not the burglar’s, and this will then make it harder to sell it on.
So, what can you do to improve the safety of your vehicle? Simply adopt a routine when leaving your car. Firstly, check the area you are parked in is well lit and secure, and then look around the vehicle to make sure you do not leave anything important or in plain sight. Make sure you remove the keys from the ignition before you get out the car, and as soon as you’ve left the vehicle ensure it is locked and double check by pulling on the handle. If you follow these tips as a rule every time you park your car, then after a few days it will soon become second nature.
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