Don’t Make the Dark Nights Scary For Your Car
Protect Them from Vandalism or Theft
Its easier to get away with doing something wrong when no one can see you do it and here in the UK, in the winter months, its dark for up to 12 hours a day and with councils now switching off street lights, that gives plenty of time for thieves to get to work stealing your car, or bits off it, or for vandals to exercise their bloody mindless vengeance against something they cant afford to have themselves, or for joy riders to take a spin or find an easy way to get home, but either way, it could be your car in the front line and you should take as many steps as you can to prevent it becoming a victim
Taking a look at theft first, recent government findings have shown that more vehicles are now being broken into by using the owners keys, or clones of those keys and I guess that’s because the increase of sophisticated electronic immobilisers and key recognition, but it also means that if they get hold of these keys, the vehicle they want is simply going to lay back and think of England as they have your wicked way.
It’s reckoned that 25% of all car thefts take place using the cars original keys, or cloned keys and that’s a 40% increase in just 5 years.
We all have to recognise that our keys are precious items. They give anyone access to our stuff and in the same way as a stolen credit card has in the past had a value in the underworld, well your keys now have that same value.
I don’t want to frighten you, but even leaving your keys on your office desk, or at your work station, can be a very bad thing to do, because pretty much anyone passing by can see them and in many cases, they are going to know (or easily be able to find out) what car you drive and where you live and just think of the value of that to a thief or as a sale to some baddy down at the pub. Chances are, you may just think you mislaid them and not even know they’ve been stolen, so will simply revert to using the spare keys. Ooops!
In some cases, thieves will simply steal your car keys from your house and all too often, people who are broken into and lose keys in this way, fail to realise that the thief might return at a time to suit themselves and steal your car this time. In fact, it does not even have to be a break-in, as most of us leave our keys on the side and they are easy to spot and even a casual visitor at the door might simply be able to reach in and take them, leaving you to think you must have mislaid them and they will turn up?
We must learn that our keys are precious, as they give free access to much of what we own and let’s face it, you wouldn’t just leave your purse or your wallet on your desk or work station, or by the front door. Don’t do it with your keys.
Something you probably can’t avoid happening is having your key cloned and electronic duplication devices exist which can turn a blank key into one that makes your car work, in next to no time, with the same bye bye car result.
OK, I accept the key isn’t the only way your car gets stolen, because the government figures suggest 34% get in from forcing the lock, whilst 18% just go for the good old brick through the window whilst 14% just get in through open doors?
Before we move on to ways that we can help prevent or reduce these things happening, we need to take a look at vandalism, where the bad guy does not want to steal your motor, but simply gets a buzz out of damaging it.
A recent survey by motor insurers LV, who bunged out nearly £1 billion in 2011 to put vandalism right, found that (seems odd to say this) but the ‘most popular’ form of vandalism was scratching or keying a vehicles paintwork and that accounted for 33% of the figures, whilst windows came a close second, with 26%, mirrors came in at 22%, whilst good old fashioned bending radio antennas was 11% and slashing tyres made up 10%
So, this is all a problem and whilst having a good car insurer is of critical importance, even if you don’t have to pay any excess or the like, the inconvenience of losing you car whilst it’s being repaired, or losing it permanently is awful. Add to that the stuff you might lose in the car and the fact that you’re going to feel violated, particularly if the car was stolen from outside your own house. You are going to be scared that the thieves (who pulled off a successful raid) are going to come back, or maybe wait until you get your next car then make a visit, or even that they might have a go at your house.
Bottom line is we need to avoid that and whilst nothings foolproof, there are several ways you can help do that, or at least, put the thief off enough to steal someone else’s car and not yours. So let’s take a look and see if any of these are something you can do.
1) Firstly, don’t park your car on the street
2) If you have a garage, use it – yes I know its hassle, but think just what it could save
3) Buy a Wheel Clamp and “use it” – Yes I know its inconvenient, but they are an absolute visible deterrent and thieves will move on – Keep your wheel clamp key safe
4) If you car has to be outside, buy a car cover
5) Install security lighting where your car is parked as when the lights come on, it will alert you, or your neighbours that someone is approaching your car and even the thieves or vandals wont like that
6) Keep your keys as safe as possible. Hide them at home and at work.
7) Don’t leave anything obvious on display, such as portable sat nav’s or phones.
Before we leave this and sorry if we’ve frightened you, but maybe these final stats will convince you to sell your car and buy a Dacia or something?
The most vandalised “Vehicle Brands” in 2011 / 2012, according to Swiftcover Insurance are:-
3) Land Rover
The most vandalised “Models” in 2011 / 2012, according to Swiftcover Insurance are:-
1) Fiat 500
2) BMW Z4
3) Peugeot 207
4) BMW X5
5) Range Rover (Land Rover)
6) Volkswagen Beetle
7) Audi TT
8) Fiat Punto
9) Mini Cooper
10) BMW 3 Series
So there we have it. Its easy to see the cars in the lists above are pretty much cars we see everyday and you might expect ‘posh’ cars to be vandalised just out of jealousy, but there isn’t any real posh cars in that list and its not only because they are thin on the ground, but its most likely because they are parked securely, either in garages or areas where its not easy to steal them or damage them and if you take on board some of our tips above, well hopefully your pride and joy wont become a statistic.