All crime is distressing but being stranded without your car can be particularly so and can leave you in a vulnerable situation. Most car crime is preventable if a few basic steps are adopted.
- Lock the doors, windows, boot and sunroofs every time you leave your car - however briefly.
- Take the ignition key out even when the car is parked in your drive or when filling up with petrol or popping into the newsagents. Always set the immobiliser and alarm if you have one fitted.
- Don't leave valuables and other possessions on display. That old coat on the back seat may be worthless, but a thief won't know that. He may break in to see if you have left money or cards in the pockets. Remember, the cost of replacing a broken window is often far more than the value of the goods stolen. If you can, take your belongings with you. If you can't, lock everything out of sight in the boot.
- Fit a lockable fuel cap and wheel nuts - especially if you have expensive alloy wheels.
- Have the vehicle registration number etched on to all glass surfaces including the side windows and headlamps.
In particular, never leave the following anywhere in your car:
- Cheque, credit and debit cards.
- Driving documents and personal correspondence. They could help a thief to sell your car or provide a cover story if stopped by the police.
- Mobile phones - the cause of 40% of car break-ins.
- Car stereo - remove where possible. Always mark visibly and permanently with the vehicle registration number. Make a note of the serial number and keep in a safe place.
- Take MP3 players and mobile phones with you when you leave your car.
- Sat-Nav systems - also remove the holder and whipe away the suction mark left on the window by the holder; tell tale signs will be noticed by thieves who will break in to see if the unit has been left in the glove box or boot.
This page was last updated on 12-Aug-2010 16:51:23 BST