Security - Someone falls victim to car crime in the UK every 12 seconds. A million thefts of or from vehicles each year means car crime accounts for a fifth of all crime. Because so many incidents go unreported to the police, the true figure could be nearer 2.6 million, according to the Home Office's British Crime Survey.
That's why What Car? puts the best-selling new models through the most gruelling test of security every year, and the Home Office agrees these tests have helped to improve standards over the past decade.
Deadlocks, improved lock shielding, etched windows, unique-fit stereos and marked parts all help make criminals' lives harder, so we work our way through new cars to see how many boxes they can tick.
Immobilisers have made the theft of vehicles increasingly difficult, although car manufacturers need to remain one step ahead of the ever more resourceful thieves. New measures such as tougher laminated glass are also needed to guard against opportunist thieves armed with bricks.
Motorists can do their part by following a few simple measures. Never leave items on display and, if possible, preferably not in the car at all when parked. Lock valuables in the boot if you have to leave them in the car.
Remember to lock all doors and activate any alarm fitted, even if you're just paying for petrol or dashing back into the house for something you've forgotten.
Try to park in as well lit and busy an area as possible.
Don't leave car keys on tables inside your front door. Thieves can use fishing rods or hooks to grab them and make off with your car.
Always have your doors locked when driving, but if someone tries to take your car by force in a busy area, sound the horn or flash the lights. If your safety is at risk, let them have the car.
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