Want to know what makes your car less desirable to thieves? Read on.
Cars are an object of aspiration for many. Sadly some people aren’t willing to work hard to afford a shiny new motor, and a tiny minority resort to taking what they can’t afford.
Likewise, the valuables within a car are often a target. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, there were nearly 358,000 registered cases of thefts from or of a vehicle in 2013.
Okay, some of us may feel we’ve got petty theft sussed, but if we really give it our full attention there’s even more we can do to keep our set of wheels protected.
Here’s our inventory of security features that car criminals hate, as well as a few extra safeguarding tips for good measure.
First of all - and it sounds utterly obvious - park in well-illuminated areas. Also lock your car doors, shut your vehicle’s windows and never leave your keys in the ignition.
Take all valuables including your handbag and sunglasses with you, if you can. If you can’t, lock them in the boot or place them out of view. You undoubtedly know these old-as-the-hills rudimentary preventative measures, but they’re worth repeating.
Of course, they may not put off the most determined deviants. But these basic rules can help put the brakes on criminality and help in the swift recovery of your motor.
Especially relevant for high-priced cars, GPS-based tracking is invaluable if your car is snatched, and works as an admirable deterrent. Most systems are subscription based, so – typically – you’ll need to fork out for the technology year after year. However, the money is worth spending as trackers are a real curse for most car crooks.
Motor manufacturers are also developing mobile apps that switch your smartphone into a smart key as well as a GPS tracker. That's a handheld security measure that you, but few thieves, can look forward to.
Virtually all new cars are kitted out as standard with an immobiliser. If you have an older motor, think about having one retro-fitted. Or use an old-style steering lock, which – when bolted over the wheel – prevents it from turning. This is bound to make an offender spit feathers.
All brand-new cars come with an alarm. You can even check with the motor insurers’ automotive research centre, Thatcham Research, to see what sort of security rating your new vehicle has. If you want to improve protection, or you have an old car without a standard-fit alarm, there are lots of aftermarket systems available. Thieves don’t like noise, so a decent, hard-to-silence alarm is a must.
Again, most fresh-off-the-forecourt motors have these factory fitted. These stop your door from opening and are armed when you lock your motor, even if a crook attempts to shatter your window and undo the door from the inside. Deadlocks can be retro-fitted – they are simply additional steel locks that work independently from your standard door locks. These are bound to frustrate even the most ‘professional’ pilferer.
It sounds simple, and it is! A lockable wheel clamp used at home, will also make life tougher for reprobates who have it in mind to illicitly acquire your auto.
While you can engrave your windows with your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), a traceability scheme is even more of a headache for motoring miscreants. This means that your car’s glazing and other components are recorded on a secure database, which can be examined by future purchasers to verify the motor isn’t ‘hot’.
Enhanced protection glazing
This can prevent opportunist smash-and-grab car thieves. It's a laminated glass that can be fitted to all windows. The commotion and time it takes to breach will, in all likelihood, deter a degenerate’s plans to have a joyride at your expense.