How to protect your car from theft
Remove keys from your car
Always lock your car and take your keys with you after driving. In the home, make sure your car keys are kept in a place that’s out of sight, like a drawer or cupboard. If you're going out without your car, bring your car keys along so potential burglars can't take your car.
“Never leave a spare key hidden somewhere in or near the car,” Gordon adds. “Thieves are used to this and know where to look.”
Lock your car doors and garage door
"Always lock your car – when out and about, and when parked at home," Gordon says. “Locking your doors is a good habit to get into, no matter whether you live in a metropolitan or regional area."
It may sound obvious, but many households also make it easy for thieves by leaving their entry doors and gates unlocked, and even their garage doors open. Not only can thieves easily access your car, but also your garage contents like bicycles and power tools which are in high demand.
Install anti-theft screws on your number plates
Number plate theft is on the rise in Victoria, with 15,622 number plate thefts recorded in the year ending March 2023 according to the Crime Statistics Agency - an increase of seven per cent on last year.
Thieves target vehicle number plates to install on their own (often stolen) vehicles to carry out crimes undetected. Make sure to blur your number plates when posting any images of your vehicle online for sale and consider replacing the screws holding your physical number plates on with anti-theft screws.
Install car security
If your car doesn’t have a working alarm system, it’s worth getting one installed. “The loud noise emanating from an alarm system can be enough to deter a thief from continuing the theft,” Gordon explains.
Older cars also tend to lack the engine immobiliser security feature found in more modern vehicles, allowing them to be hotwired. After-market engine immobilisers can be fitted to older cars to prevent hotwiring for only a few hundred dollars. Other anti-theft devices include bonnet locks, steering wheel locks, ignition shields, battery isolators and GPS trackers.
A qualified mechanic can have a look at your car and install an alarm system, engine immobiliser or other anti-theft device for you.
Invest in home security equipment
Home security systems like security cameras and home alarms are a major deterrent for thieves and can be extremely useful in a police investigation.
"Anything that makes a thief aware that the theft won’t be easy and there is a chance they will be spotted is great protection for your car," Gordon says. "Thieves are after low risk and high return."
Take the How Safe Is My Place quiz to identify vulnerable points in and around your home so that you can take precautions to protect your vehicles and other contents.