Preventing car theft
They say prevention is better than cure and it’s as true for car theft as it is for your health. If you can prevent your car from being stolen, you can avoid lots of headaches – literally and figuratively.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of someone taking off with your car:
Lock your car. It sounds simple but it’s really the easiest way to prevent someone stealing your car. All cars after 2001 are required to have immobilisers that make it impossible for thieves to hotwire your car. But if you have an older car, all that’s standing between the thief and the ignition is the car door. If you lock it, that’s one more obstacle in the thief's way and it may just be enough to send them on to the next car instead. Didn’t lock your car? Your chances of being able to claim on your car insurance are slim to none.
Keep your keys safe. If your car was built after 2001, it’s practically impossible for a thief to steal it without the keys. So make sure you keep your keys safe and know where all the extra sets are. Whatever you do, don’t hide them in one of those magnetic boxes under the frame of your car, on top of your tyre or in your glovebox. It even pays to keep your keys well hidden when they are inside your home, because home burglaries are another popular way for thieves to get hold of them.
Park somewhere safe. Whenever possible, park somewhere well lit and well populated. Other safe spots include near building entrances, near security cameras and near parking attendants.
Install an anti-theft device. There are all sorts of devices that prevent theft in different ways or at the very least, help you get your car back if someone steals it. These include steering wheel locks that prevent the steering wheel from turning, wheel clamps (or “boots”) that keep the tyre from turning, GPS systems that help police track down stolen cars and alarms to scare off thieves and alert others that something is wrong.
Don’t tempt thieves. Your car becomes even more of a target if thieves can see that there are valuable items in it. This includes your purse, shopping bags, sunglasses, expensive dashcams and laptops. Hide these out of sight, or even better, take them with you.
Don’t leave your car running if you’re not in it. This may sound obvious, but people still do it. Turn the ignition off and take your keys with you, even if all you are doing is popping out to toss some letters in the mailbox. All it takes is a few seconds for a thief to spot an opportunity and take it.