A car alarm is a valuable deterrent in the fight against car theft. Many thieves will simply try the next vehicle along if they see the warning stickers and flashing LED light that indicates a car alarm is fitted.
However a determined (or less than clever) thief may still have a go if they see something they want. Vehicle crime is made up not only of the theft of the vehicle itself but also theft from vehicles. Both these are among the top crimes in New Zealand.
Thieves steal vehicles for a number of reasons. High risk ‘desirable’ vehicles are often stolen to order or to be broken up into parts. But it’s not always expensive cars that are targeted – normal, every day cars are also stolen for parts (it can be worth more in parts than in one piece), for joy-riding, to get a thief home from wherever they are, or to be used in a crime. No matter what kind of car you drive it may be targeted.
Theft from vehicles (called ‘theft ex car’) is a big problem in New Zealand. Anything is up for grabs – handbags, GPS devices, stereos, laptops, wallets, iPods, gym bags etc. If a thief can see it chances are they’ll smash a window or force a door and grab whatever they can. And even if your car alarm is triggered the thief can be gone within seconds, along with your belongings.
It is important that even with the very best car alarm, GPS tracking and everything else fitted to protect your car, you do still use common sense practice to help keep your car and belongings safe.
Tips to help prevent your car from being stolen
- Lock your car (and arm the alarm if fitted) EVERY time you leave the car – a large percentage of cars are stolen because they are simply left unlocked
- Keep your keys with you and never leave them ‘hidden’ on the car
- Don’t leave your keys in the car when you park it in the garage at night – many break and enter crimes today are to steal keys (and they’ll take the car right then and there if they can)
- Put your keys away safely in a locked drawer at night for the same reason (and hide spare keys well)
- Always park in a secure carpark building with security or in busy, well lit areas
- If you have a high risk car don’t leave it for long periods in public areas, take a different car if you can
- If you don’t have a garage, park high risk cars close to the house with another vehicle behind them in the driveway (this makes it much harder for a thief to hotwire and drive the car away or to tow it)
- Fit a car alarm with at least two immobilisers to help prevent easy hotwiring of the vehicle
- Fit a GPS tracking device that will warn you if the alarm is triggered and allow you to track the vehicle to its location
Tips to help protect your car’s contents
- NEVER leave anything on display in the cabin of the car – it only takes a second for a thief to smash and grab
- Don’t leave valuables including wallets, phones and GPS devices in the vehicle, take them with you
- If you have luggage or any kind of bag in the car store it out of sight in the boot
- Keep a record of serial numbers for all electronic equipment used in the car
- If you carry tools or valuable gear in the car ideally remove them from the vehicle overnight, or else protect with suitable alarm sensors and smash proof tinted window film. Always ensure the door switches and alarm are working optimally with regular checks.
- Install a car alarm with sensors and accessories that help protect the cabin of the car
- Fit a GPS tracking or locator device that will alert you if the alarm is triggered