You may have heard the latest figures that the RAC released earlier this week which reported a shocking 30% rise in vehicle and car theft over the last three years. The information they submitted revealed that 65,783 vehicles were reported as stolen in 2013. However by 2016 this had risen to 85,688.
Commenting on this rise, RAC Insurance Director Mark Godfrey said: “Technology advances in immobilisers, keys and car alarms had caused the number of vehicle thefts to decrease significantly from more than 300,000 in 2002*** but sadly they have now increased after bottoming out in 2013 and 2014. We fear thieves are now becoming more and more well equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems.”
The Effect of Car Theft on Insurance Premiums
The impact on motorists is obvious but Mr Godfrey added: “This is bad news for motorists as it has also led to causing insurance premiums to rise at a time when they are already being pushed up by a variety of factors, not least the recent change to the discount rate for life-changing personal injury compensation claims and the rises in insurance premium tax.”
How to Prevent Car Theft
Mr Godfrey also gave the following practical advice for motorists to reduce the risk of car theft, asking them to make sure that they parked in well-lit areas. In addition to this, we would recommend that you park as close as possible to an occupied building where it’s possible to view your vehicle as locations like these are less attractive to thieves.
Check it’s Locked!
It’s very important to check and then double check that your car is locked before you leave it. Pulling the door handle is the best way to confirm that no one has tampered with your immobiliser. This is because some security experts believe that thieves are now able to use remote locking jammers, which prevent the signal from your key fob from reaching your car meaning that your vehicle stays unlocked.
Hide Your Valuables
As obvious as it may seem, it’s important that you hide any valuables from view in your vehicle. It’s advisable to take valuables with you where possible, but if you need to leave them in your car, then always store them in your vehicle’s glovebox or boot. Aside from making sure that you hide obvious items such as sat-navs, mobile phones, wallets and cash, it’s always useful to remember that other items that could be attractive to thieves. Coats, jumpers and bags are also tempting to thieves, not just if they appear to be valuable but because they could be concealing something of value underneath them. Also ensure that any paperwork is hidden away, as you do not want to run the risk of identity theft.
Protect Your Number Plates
In addition to vehicle theft, criminals are stealing number plates in order to perform crimes such as filling up with fuel at petrol stations then driving away without paying, ram-raiding, burglary and even evading speeding fines. To make sure that you are protected, double check that your number plates have not been taken whenever you park, and report any theft immediately to the police. You can also consider using security screws which cannot be undone using normal tools. Theft-resistant number plates are also good options as they break apart if someone tries to remove them forcefully.
Preventing Car Theft in Winter
Mr Godfrey commented further on protecting your vehicle from theft in the coming winter months and asked drivers to make sure that they never leave the keys in the ignition of the car whilst de-icing their vehicles on cold mornings.
Make sure that you’re not caught out, as it will invalidate your insurance if your car is stolen whilst you leave it running. If you need to leave your car unattended, lock it and come back. The time that you may save by leaving it to de-ice is not important compared to the stress, hassle and money you may lose if your car is stolen.
Car Theft Deterrents
As unsettling as the statistics may be, we have a few products to suggest which could improve the security of your vehicle. Anti-theft devices such as steering locks and wheel clamps offer a visible deterrent to thieves and are a good option for anyone who wants extra reassurance and protection from theft.
Mr Godfrey even commented: “Anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks which were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s are starting to make a comeback as they are still a very effective visible deterrent. This is quite ironic as they were replaced a number of years ago by alarms and immobilisers, which until now, offered better theft prevention.”
Our range of steering wheel locks, wheel clamps and other security products are always available from FPS via next-day delivery and on the F:Drive. Speak to your local FPS representative for further details and stockist information.
***According to Office of National Statistics.