20 top tips for vehicle security from TRACKER

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TRACKER, the expert in Stolen Vehicle Recovery, or SVR, are celebrating their 20th anniversary of protecting owners from the ever present threat of car theft and also reuniting owners with their stolen vehicles. Not only is TRACKER the leading provider in the UK of SVR solutions, they have also forged important working relationships with police forces across the length and breadth of the UK, and from this have gained valuable insight into how thieves work and developed systems which have stopped them in their tracks. Tracker are utilising this 20 years of experience to create a list of 20 great tips for those owners who want to make sure their cars are protected.

20. Always Lock and Secure your Vehicle

What might seem an obvious tip is actually something TRACKER sees car owners forgetting time and time again. This is particularly true when owners only plan to leave a vehicle for a few minutes, for example de-icing windows or at a petrol station. But minutes are all a thief needs. ALWAYS ensure you lock your vehicle when you leave it.

19. Never Leave Driving Documents or Spare Keys inside a Car

Although a car might be the handiest place to leave important driving documents, these can also be a boon to a thief who steals your vehicle, as providing the documents makes selling a stolen car to an unsuspecting buyer even easier. Similarly a spare pair of keys within a car might be useful, but a car thief will find them even more helpful.

18. An Open Glove Box

After you have removed all of the valuable items and documents from your car, leave your glove box open to show thieves there is nothing in there.

17. Hidden Treasures

Make sure you keep your belongings out of sight when you leave a vehicle. Leaving a handbag or rucksack on the backseat might seem innocent enough, however you have just put a red flag over your car to any passing criminals. Gadgets such as Sat-Nav and Tablets also attract thieves like moths to a flame.

16. Don’t Leave your Keys in the Ignition

It’s tempting to do so when running into a shop quickly or de-icing your vehicle – especially if you have left your children in the car. However a running car is tens of thousands of pounds waiting to be taken for a car thief. TRACKER has seen several examples of thieves taking vehicles with children still inside.

15. Keep the Keys with You

It might be tempting to hand over your keys or leave them with the vehicle at ad-hoc car washing establishments, but these could have a shady side. Make sure your keys are with you at all times.

14. Sensible Stereos

Car stereos may not command the prices they once did, however they are still an easy win for thieves. Make it tougher for them by fitting a stereo with a removable panel and take it with you when you leave your car.

13. Park it wisely

Where possible try to ensure that you park in a busy area and if at night, make sure it is well-lit. Attended car parks with CCTV cameras are amongst the safest places to leave your car.

12. Park Off-Road

If you have a garage or driveway, use it. If there is space, a garage is the perfect safe house for your vehicle. This can also help lower your premiums.

11. Play it Cool in the summer

It might be tempting to wind the windows down during the summer, but caution must also be exercised – especially in built up areas. It is possible for a thief to open your door and pull you out when stopped if you have the window wide open. Similarly always keep the doors on your car locked when driving, no matter what.

10. Leading them Home

A common practice is to save addresses for places you regularly visit such as your home into your Sat Nav system – but if the car gets stolen, that simply leads the thief straight to your door, enabling them to get you twice. Make sure you either take a Sat Nav with you when you leave the car, or do not insert any important addresses.

9. A Sporting Chance

The latest sports equipment can set enthusiasts back a pretty penny, and opportunistic thieves know this too. If you have to have it in the car, leave equipment such as golf clubs well-hidden.

8. Tempting Tyres

With the price of tyres constantly rising, these often overlooked commodities are a valuable part of your car – and thieves won’t overlook them. Fit locking wheel nuts to avoid coming back to a car stacked on bricks.

7. Etch-it

Have your car registration or the last 7 digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps to make it that bit harder for thieves to disguise stolen cars.

6. Invest in Accredited Security

If you are buying security accessories, ensure they are accredited by a recognised provider such as Thatcham, Secured by Design or Sold Secure.

5. Fit a Steering Lock

Older vehicles may not have the advanced security systems to bypass like a newer vehicle, making them a tempting target for thieves. A visible steering lock will soon put them off.

4. Keep your Numbers Safe

The first thing a thief will try to do once they have your vehicle in their possession is to remove the number plates to hinder efforts to trace the vehicle. By fitting anti-tamper screws you will make life just that bit harder for thieves.

3. The Key to Success

Car key theft has grown since car manufacturers have improved the security systems on vehicles. So, do not advertise your keys to thieves by leaving them on a hallway table or key pegs in the kitchen. Leave your keys in a safe place where they can’t be seen or taken by someone from the outside.

2. Don’t give them everything

In the very worst case scenario where your car is stolen, make sure you don’t give the thieves access to your address by leaving correspondence with your personal details on it. Organised criminals have been known to use personal information found in cars to go on to commit other crimes, such as Identify Theft.

1. Fit a TRACKER

A TRACKER really is the best way to ensure a vehicle is protected. Acting like a homing device, TRACKER’s technology enables the police to pin-point a stolen vehicle, even if it is hidden in a container, garage or even underground where other systems do not operate, and also when criminals are using ‘jamming’ technology.

Stephen Doran, Managing Director for TRACKER, comments, “Our 20 years experience have provided TRACKER with a wealth of insight into the way car criminals operate, and enables us to consistently stay one step ahead. To date we have recovered more than 22,000 stolen vehicles worth more than a staggering £500 million, and have helped police arrest over 2,285 criminals.

“These top tips will hopefully help ensure car owners protect their vehicles correctly – and make life even harder for the thieves.”