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5 easy ways to deter car thieves

5 easy ways to deter car thieves

Gone are the carefree days in New Zealand where it was safe to leave your car parked outside your house with the keys in the ignition. Car theft is, unfortunately, becoming more common. Professional thieves are quick and efficient – cars can be stolen in less than 60 seconds, and most are never recovered. While there is little you can do to stop a professional thief who really wants to steal your vehicle, there are plenty of ways to make your car less attractive to them. It’s worth noting that most car theft is opportunistic. You can discourage thieves by making it difficult and time-consuming to steal your car, and not dropping your guard.

1. Protect yourself from opportunists

This is the most important piece of advice for keeping your car safe from thieves. Always shut the car doors, windows and sunroof and lock the car – even if you are only leaving the car to dash into a shop for a few minutes. Never leave the car running, and always remove the keys from the ignition. Be wary of strangers stopping you when you’re in your car, and asking you to wind down the window or get out of the car. This might seem a little paranoid, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.

2. Keep your keys safe

Some new cars have such tight security that the only way a thief can steal the car is to steal the keys first. This is why there have been increased incidents of thieves breaking into houses to get car keys. Make sure your keys are hidden inside your home, not on display and visible through a window or door. Don’t hide your spare keys on or near your car – criminals know about this habit (yep, other people do this, too).

3. Hide your personal belongings

Don’t leave your bag, phone, laptop or portable navigation system in your car. These are too much temptation for thieves. Remove all of these items, and any sign of them (hiding chargers and wiping the windscreen to remove the sign of a navigation unit being used). Thieves will also break into cars for less valuable items like coats, gloves, or even the small change you keep for parking meters – so make sure none of your possessions are visible.

4. Park safely

When parking in a multi-storey or underground car park, always choose a space that is well-lit, preferably monitored by a camera. Similarly, if you park on the street, choose a well-lit, public area as this will deter thieves. At home, cars that are parked in a garage, rather than a driveway, are much safer than those parked outside – especially if the garage is securely locked.

5. Invest in an alarm

A car alarm is a must for anyone serious about protecting their car from thieves. Have the alarm professionally installed, and you will be notified immediately if anyone tries to tamper with your car. Loud alarms are very effective in deterring thieves, and some car alarm systems will deactivate your car’s ignition, requiring a key or activator to start the vehicle.

You may not be able to protect your vehicle 100 per cent from a professional criminal, but with these simple measures in place, you will protect your car from opportunists.

To further protect you vehicle, make sure you've got your insurance sorted.

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