Car theft remains a significant problem in the UK, with 48,500 vehicles taken from their owners in 2021 alone.
While these numbers are much lower than the car theft highs of a few decades earlier, thieves have been changing tactics in recent years, and are now increasingly targeting ‘keyless’ cars by exposing their often-weak security.
There are several things you can do to make your car more secure and to deter thieves. Let’s take a look.
Think about where you park the car
Where you park your car can often play a significant part in the likelihood of a thief taking a chance on your vehicle. When you’re out and about, try and choose the safest place possible to leave your vehicle. Well-lit places are an immediate deterrent while choosing a car park that has CCTV will help put off criminals. You can use the Park Mark website to help you find facilities approved for safety and security.
Parking when you get home is also important. If you have a very visible driveway, it will make crooks notice your vehicle in less time. If you have the option of parking your vehicle around the back of your house, that’s a great idea. Similarly, you could look at installing a parking bollard in front of your vehicle to reduce the likelihood of it being taken.
Where you put your keys is important
It goes without saying but as soon as you get out of your car, you should always lock and secure it, and never be tempted to leave it running – such as when defrosting it on a cold winter’s morning. It’s scenarios like these that opportunist thieves will act on.
After this, you need to think about where you put your keys. Never put them somewhere that’s easily in sight, and try and put them as far away from the car as possible.
Faraday pouch for keyless cars
If you have a keyless car, you should invest in a faraday pouch or box. Available from only around £5, you put your keys inside and then seal the pouch or box, which should stop any ‘keyless’ signals from being emitted, which crooks can use a device to connect with to unlock and start the car even without the keys.
These pouches are a must for any keyless car owner, and don’t forget to put both sets in too. Just be aware that over time these pouches can fade and end up not blocking the signals – you can check by having the keys in the pouch while standing next to the vehicle and seeing if it opens.
Look at steering locks
A physical deterrent is another great idea to help keep your vehicle safer, and one of the best is a steering lock. They might have been well used many years ago, but in a day and age of keyless cars, they’ve made a comeback.
Not only will these hopefully deter thieves in the first place, but they will add time to the job of stealing the car. If you drive a particularly desirable car that’s fitted with keyless entry or start, it’s worth buying.
Install ‘ghost’ immobilisers and trackers
Another deterrent that’s a good idea is an immobiliser. All new cars these days have them but you can add another step by fitting a ‘ghost’ immobiliser. This is where a certain button or number sequence needs to be entered into the car for it to start. It means that even if someone has your keys, they won’t be able to start the vehicle without knowing this pin code.
But should the worst happen, that’s where a vehicle tracker will come in. When installed into the vehicle, you’ll be able to see where the car has been taken, and be able to work with the police to hopefully recover the vehicle. Trackers can sometimes be removed by thieves, however.
Take out any valuables
Even if thieves aren’t set out to steal the car itself, it’s a good idea to try and protect the vehicle from being broken into.
The easiest step you can do is to take out any valuables that will put criminals off breaking in. It’s worth putting any bags or boxes on show (even if of little worth) into the boot or out of sight, just in case someone breaks in thinking it’s items of value.
Never put yourself in danger
While there are a number of actions you can take to help to protect your car, there’s one thing you should never do, and that’s putting yourself in danger.
Some car thieves will be part of organised crime networks, and will not be afraid of using violence to steal your car. It’s not worth risking your life or health, or any other members of your household, in trying to protect your vehicle. As long as your car is fully insured with an accurate current valuation, it’s not worth putting yourself in danger for some metal that can be replaced.