A few common-sense rules will help you to stay one step ahead of car thieves. Follow these guidelines and you’re far less likely to become a victim.
• Always lock your car, even if you are only leaving it for a few seconds to pay for fuel. Close all windows, including the sunroof, put the steering lock on and activate any alarm fitted.
• Keep doors locked while you’re driving. Some cars automatically lock doors when you pull away. Make sure valuable items are out of the reach of criminals, who can approach your car in traffic queues or when stopped at lights.
• Don’t leave anything on display or stored in your car, especially when it’s parked overnight. Don’t think that because your car is on your driveway it will be safe – Home Office figures show 63% of thefts are from outside owners’ homes.
• If someone attempts to steal your car during busy periods while you are in it, sound your horn and flash your lights to attract attention. If there’s no-one about to help, or if it looks like the attacker could turn violent, hand over the keys.
• Fit an alarm if one is not standard on your car. Approved installers can be found through www.vsib.co.uk while products tested by security organisation Thatcham are listed on www.thatcham.org.
• Choose a busy, well-lit place to park, preferably close to CCTV cameras. You can find more secure car parks by logging on to www.saferparking.com and looking for the Park Mark.
• If you don’t have a unique-fit stereo that can only be used in your car, consider fitting a system with a removable front panel. Take it with you when you leave the car so that thieves aren’t tempted.
• Hide car keys well away from doors and windows in your home. Thieves can use fishing rods to hook them through a letter box or open window and make off with your car.
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