Top seven tips to stop car theft

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Car Theft problem in Victoria is on the rise

The potential nightmare of car theft is always around. Recently in Victoria the number of cars that are going missing has been increasing. It is not much fun to suddenly discover your car is missing. Being a victim of car theft is extremely stressful, inconvenient and time consuming. Victims of car theft experience a wide range of emotions – shock, anger and frustration, as well as a huge amount of inconvenience. If it is an opportunist theft, such as for the thrill ride or convenient transport, the car is usually recovered within a few days. But it is likely to be damaged. Professional theft is far more costly. Once stolen, these vehicles are unlikely to be recovered. Professional gangs can have the car completely stripped or loaded into a container, ready to be shipped overseas before the owner realizes it is missing. Ease of theft, availability and image or value make some cars more likely to be theft targets.

Theft is costly and inconvenient

Even if your car is insured, there is still the inconvenience and possibly other out of pocket expenses. Time will be spent finding alternative transport, lodging police reports and insurance claims. Hunting for a suitable replacement vehicle adds to your theft woes.

Potential Theft risks

Just because your car spends the majority of its stationary-time parked out the front of your house or in the driveway does not mean it is secure. It is estimated that thefts from private dwellings account for well over 40% of all the cars that go missing. Car keys have become a sort-after commodity for thieves. Late model cars have sophisticated security systems and are difficult to steal without keys. More than 70 per cent of late model cars are stolen using the car’s own keys. Increasingly, homes are being burgled to gain access to car keys, so make sure you have sufficient home security and don’t leave keys lying around. In addition, keys are being stolen from places like gyms, beaches and swimming pools. Always find a safe place to store your car keys. Leaving a spare key in the car’s glovebox or hidden under the car is only making the job easier for car thieves.

Older cars are often targeted due to a lower level of security. For pre-2001 cars, having a good quality engine immobiliser fitted has proven to be the most effective protection measure. Almost 60% of older cars stolen either had no engine immobiliser or a unit that was not Australian Standards approved.

Keys in car ignition


How can I reduce the chances of car theft?

Anyone anywhere can be a victim of car theft. Total immunity can never be guaranteed. There are things that you can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

  1. Be careful with the keys: don’t leave car keys lying around or in the ignition. Never thinking you’ll only be away for a minute, as car theft takes just seconds.
  2. Try to park in a busy, well lit area. Make sure the car is locked.
  3. Don’t leave valuables on display.
  4. At home, if off street parking is available use it; lock the car in a garage or behind gates.
  5. Leaving valuables on display inside the car or a spare key underneath invites problems. Keep your licence and fuel card in your wallet, not the glovebox. The owner’s handbook should also be stored elsewhere, as it contains security information, details about the car and personal details.
  6. Raise the level of theft protection on older cars by fitting an Australian Standards approved engine immobiliser, certified to AS 4601. Basic units are available from as low as a few hundred dollars. Price will depend on theft features the system offers.
  7. For cabin and contents protection, a good alarm will provide interior surveillance with audible and visual warning. It should have immobilising to prevent the car being driven. To prevent false triggering, we advise an alarm certified to the Australian Standard AS 3749. They have been designed to minimize the chance of false alarming. Units are available with addition features for convertibles.

Public apathy can be a car thief’s greatest ally.

Everyone needs to take up the challenge and play a more active role in the fight against this unacceptable crime.

Images iStock/vm & iStock/loops7

Written by Greg Hill, Product Tester & Writer
June 05, 2016