Thieves have gotten very smart in recent years, with smart keys becoming a big problem for many drivers. Thieves are using these smart keys to steal vehicles, then switching out the license plates to avoid theft detection. So how do you keep your car safe from theft? You should be taking preventive measures to secure your car. Here are some tips on how to keep your car safe.
1. Always Lock Your Doors
Get in the habit of checking if your car doors are locked before leaving your car. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to lock their car doors when we’re in a rush, i.e. to get to work. This is what a thief wants. You should always ensure that all windows are up as well, as this will provide even more opportunities for thieves.
2. Remove Your Keys
If you’re leaving your car at all, never leave your keys in the ignition. Often we see cars with no driver in them, and the engine is running. In this situation, thieves don’t have to go through too much trouble to steal the vehicle. Even if they don’t steal it in that moment, if a thief notices your car is lying idle, they may mark it for future theft.
3. Park in a Safe Spot
It may be convenient when you’re in a rush to park your car in any available location, however it is always important to think about where you leave your car, so it’s not in a vulnerable spot. The following are a few tips to avoid parking in dangerous areas:
- Don’t park in dark car parks or in spots near trees. You should look for well-lit spaces where thieves are less likely to rob your car and belongings due to having nowhere to hide. If you have to park in these dangerous areas, make sure that there’s CCTV in the area.
- If you’re parking your car in your own driveway, you should park facing the wall or garage and put your wheels on full lock. Thieves are after easy targets, so often they won’t take the risk reversing or making complex maneuvers for fear of being caught.
4. Don’t Leave Your Belongings On Display
The worst thing you can do is leave your valued belongings on display in your vehicle. Wallets, phones, and money can all attract thieves. If you must leave belongings in your vehicle, then store them in a safe location such as your glove box or in a boot.
You should also not leave any paperwork lying around in your vehicle. If you’re vehicle gets stolen, thieves can use bank statements and important documents to possibly steal your identity. Identity theft is a massive issue. Try not to leave secure documents in your vehicle, but store them somewhere safe if you have to.
5. Improve Your Security
Most modern cars are fitted with alarms and immobilizers, but you should take extra steps to keep your car secure. There are plenty of options to choose from, which include:
- Tracking devices. New high-end cars such as Mercedes already have anti-theft software installed, but if you’re driving an older car, you might consider investing in a tracking device. If your vehicle is stolen, the Gardaí will be able to see its exact location and hopefully recover your car in one piece.
- Steering wheel locks. The more challenging you make it for thieves to steal your vehicle, the more the risk of having your vehicle stolen decreases. These locks are fitted over your steering wheel and lock it in place. You can also see from the outside that the steering wheel has been locked, which hopefully will be a deterrent for potential thieves.
- Window Decals. Another possible protective measure to take is applying warning stickers to your window. It will let people know you have a tracker or alarm fitted on the car. When thieves see this, they will hopefully be put off and retreat from their robbery. These decals will hopefully make thieves think twice about if your vehicle is worth the risks to steal.
Keep Your Keys Secure
After parking your car in a safe location, you should store your keys in a secure place in the house. Do not leave them near your front door, as thieves could look through the letterbox and spot them. You should also keep them away from the back door as they may also see them there. You should have a specific place in a cupboard or your room where you keep them.
What To Do If Your Car is Stolen
If you are in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle has been stolen or robbed, you should take immediate action. You should ring the Gardaí as soon as you notice the car is missing or has been tampered with. You should have the following information on hand to give to them:
- Color, make and model of the car
- License plate number
- Contact details
- Address of theft
- Photograph if your car if you have one
- Logbook and VIN number
It may also be helpful to take a photo of where your car was parked to show your insurer and the Gardaí.
Tracking Your Car
As we said earlier, many newer cars are fitted with very sophisticated tracking devices used by the Gardaí to find stolen vehicles and retrieve them. If your car has one fitted, you should give the Gardaí your tracking information so they can start investigating the crime as soon as possible. Time is key for stolen cars, so the sooner you contact the Gardaí, the better their chances are of finding your vehicle.