Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of car thefts being reported to us by our customers, particularly in vehicles valued over £20,000.
According to Statista, there were there were 108,542 motor vehicle thefts in England and Wales in 2021-2022.
That’s an average of 297 thefts per day, and 2,082 thefts per week.
The risk of car theft remains high, and thieves appear to be targeting certain specific makes and models.
Below we discuss some essential steps you can take to help prevent car theft, along with some measures that will help you if thieves do decide to target your car.
Lock Your Car And Keep Valuables Out Of Sight
Many car thieves are opportunistic. If you leave your car unlocked for even a moment, you might be giving thieves just the chance they’re looking for, especially if you leave valuables in sight.
So lock your car every time you’re not using it and make sure that any valuables are not in sight – even if that’s while you’re filling up at a petrol station, or popping into a shop for a few moments. Make sure you keep all windows and the sunroof closed when you’re leaving your car unattended.
Keep Your Car Keys Safe
Don’t leave your car keys near your front door at home or near open windows, as thieves can easily use a stick to hook them through the letterbox or the window. Instead, put them somewhere secure and out of sight.
What About Keyless Entry Cars?
More cars are being designed with keyless entry. They unlock automatically when you come within a certain distance of your car, which can be very handy if you’ve got kids in tow, or if you’re struggling with heavy shopping.
But unfortunately, thieves have found a way to hack keyless entry cars. Using a combination of devices, they can trick cars into thinking that their fobs are nearby.
You can get around this by keeping your keys in a Faraday bag or pouch, which can block the fob’s signal.
Always try and park your car in a well-lit, busy area.
At home, the ideal is a garage you can lock, with an alarm and even CCTV to make things extra secure. A driveway is also preferable to on-street parking. And use any home security devices you can, such as sensor lights, and Ring Doorbells with in-built cameras as extra deterrents.
But if this isn’t possible, and if you have no choice but to park in a dark, unobserved location, then you can look for other ways to deter thieves – such as a steering wheel lock, a wheel clamp, or a dashboard camera. Keep any cash or personal belongings out of sight.
You can also fit an advanced alarm system to your car, such as one with remote tracking and immobilisation functions.
Be on the Lookout for Suspicious Behaviour
As we mentioned above, some car thieves are opportunistic. But others are more organised.
Make a point of locking your car when you leave it, and of manually checking that it’s locked. And when you do so, take a quick look around you. Is anyone standing around, looking suspiciously in your direction? If they see that you’ve noticed them, it might be enough to put them off.
Also be on the lookout for illegal tow trucks. Some thieves will attempt to literally lift vehicles from the street. If you see a towaway crew out of uniform driving an unbranded vehicle, take note of their registration in case you need to report it to the police.
Look For Markers
There are markers that might indicate that organised thieves are operating in the area. These can include things like trolley tokens, markings spray painted on the road or even large branches being left around your vehicle. Thieves sometimes use bulky objects to hide their actions, or to force motorists to park in unobserved areas. There are other makers that might indicate that organised thieves are operating in the area. These can include subtle things, like markings spray painted on the road. Or it could be something more overt, like a large bench that looks out of place. Thieves sometimes use bulky objects to hide their actions, or to force motorists to park in unobserved areas.
Get a Tracker
You could follow all the precautions above and unfortunately your car may still get stolen. Installing a GPS tracker could help police to retrieve your car if that happens. If your car doesn’t have an inbuilt tracker then you can easily install one yourself. You can find a larger number of trackers to choose from which come with a phone app to keep track of your car.
You could also use an Apple Tag. Hide the tag in your car and you can track it through your ‘Find my iPhone’ app on your phone.
We can cover you for any repairs or replacements you may need following a car theft as part of our comprehensive car insurance, including up to £200 handbag cover. Get in touch for a free quote online.