How NOT to get your car stolen
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If you've suffered the misfortune of having your car stolen or broken into, you'll be all too aware that car theft is a big problem in New Zealand.
No matter who you are, if you drive a vehicle, it’s at risk of being stolen. The best way to prevent losing several thousand dollars’ worth of property is to take the necessary precautions to ensure your vehicle is safe and secure at all times.
An article published earlier this year by the Herald mentioned the most-stolen cars in New Zealand, according to police, are the Subaru Legacy and Impreza.
Although these vehicles are fairly common on New Zealand roads, it could be assumed they’re targeted because of their age and lack of security features.
Thankfully, manufacturers have introduced a range of safety devices to keep our cars safe, beyond a standard car alarm or immobiliser.
These include transponder keys, intuitive locking and starting systems and voice and sight-activated controls.
These changes in technologies have had only positive results. In 2016, 4500 cases were brought before the courts. Compare this to 8000 10 years ago, and it’s easy to see the trend that vehicles are becoming tougher to steal.
In reality, some of the most effective deterrents are also the most basic. Here are eight simple ways to protect your car:
1. Anti-theft devices which slow down or foil thieves
The more time a criminal spends attempting to steal a vehicle increases the likelihood of discovery and apprehension.
2. Keep the car locked
Your car’s door locks are the first, and often the most vital theft deterrent system that your vehicle has. Breaking into a locked vehicle requires time and know-how. As such, many thieves prefer to simply move on until they can find something more accessible.
3. Keep all windows closed when the car is unattended
Much like unlocked doors, open windows (even when only opened a small amount), provide thieves with an easy point of access to the inside of your vehicle.
4. Never leave your keys inside your car
If there’s one thing more attractive to a car thief than an unlocked door, it’s a vehicle with the keys inside. Once a criminal gets hold of a car’s ignition key, not much else can be done to prevent them escaping with the car.
5. Keep the hand brake engaged when parked
Some thieves prefer to tow a vehicle away rather than break into it and attempting to drive it away. An engaged handbrake makes towing much more difficult.
6Be sure to hide any valuables
Keeping valuable items such as computers, smart devices, wallets and jewellery in your vehicle is inherently risky, and you should refrain from doing so whenever possible.
7. Park in well-lit areas
The last thing a thief wants when attempting to break into a car is to raise attention.
If you’re insured, it’s important to understand exactly what cover you have in the event of theft.
Agreed value comprehensive is the safest bet when it comes to insuring a vehicle. You don’t want to be left in the lurch trying to come up with the difference in price if you don’t have enough money to easily replace your stolen vehicle.
It’s not just about the loss of money and property that proves a pain. It takes time and energy to fill out a police report, file a claim and replace your lost vehicle.
By taking care and being cautious, you can reduce the chances of being targeted.