Each year, on average in Ireland over 10,000 vehicles are stolen. Most are recovered, albeit damaged in many cases, but some are never recovered. A similar figure applies to theft from vehicles. Here are some tips to keep your cars/vans safe:-
Parking in Public Areas
- Ensure all windows are closed and all doors are locked.
- Ensure that your alarm/immobiliser is set.
- Do not leave property on view inside your vehicle.
- Do not leave cash, credit/debit cards, cheque books or other valuable items inside your vehicle.
- Do not leave personal documents, driving licence, insurance certificate, utility bills, bank statements etc as this can facilitate identity theft or lead to criminals to your home address.
- Be particularly careful with laptops, mobile phones and other small electronic items as the data they contain may be very attractive to the thief.
- Do not place property under the seat – it is not a secure location and can often be seen, if you must store property place it in the boot but do so at a location other than the area where you intend to park.
- Avoid parking in isolated places and, at night time, park in a well-lit area.
- Consider retracting, where possible, your wing mirrors as flush as possible to the doors to avoid criminal damage.
Parking at Home
The above recommendations equally apply when parking at home. If you have a garage, park your vehicle inside it and keep your garage locked.
While driving, be alert to your surroundings.
- Keep all doors and windows locked.
- Keep valuables out of sight do not leave briefcases, handbags, coats etc on seats in open view.
Immobilisers and Alarms–
Most modern cars are all fitted with immobilisers and alarms. If you do not have an immobiliser, consider fitting one.
Mechanical Locking Devices –
Various types of locking devices are available that fit onto and/or around steering wheels, gear sticks, brake/clutch pedals etc. Lockable wheel nuts have proved effective against the theft of wheels, particularly high value alloy wheels. Lockable petrol caps are also available.
All glass surfaces – windscreen, rear window, side windows and headlamps – should have your car registration number etched onto them. This can help to deter thieves as it makes it more difficult and costly to sell or off-load the vehicle. It is also a good idea to place a small sticker on windows to indicate that these glass surfaces have been etched.
Most modern cars are difficult to steal without keys.
When you leave your car, even for short periods, do not leave keys in the ignition. This applies both in public and private areas including your own driveway, at filling stations, shops etc.
Do not leave car keys in open view on kitchen or hall tables, window sills, counter tops or on wall hooks etc., particularly within reach of the front door.
Do not attach a tag to your key ring which shows your name and address.
Remember – if you inadvertently leave your keys in an unattended vehicle it may compromise your insurance cover.
Satellite Navigation Equipment (Sat Navs)
Sat Navs are becoming very popular and as a result are being targetted by thieves. The following guidelines can help to reduce the risk of your equipment being stolen –
- Avoid leaving portable Sat Navs in your vehicle.
- Take them with you when leaving your car including the support cradle and suction pads.
- Wipe away any suction pad marks left on the dashboard or windscreen.
- Security mark your Sat Nav with your vehicle registration number.
- Do not programme your Sat Nav to indicate your home.