If you've ever suffered the misfortune of having your car stolen or broken into, you'll be all too aware that car theft is a big problem in New Zealand. No matter who you are, if you drive a vehicle, it’s at risk of being stolen. The best way to prevent losing several thousand dollars’ worth of property is to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your vehicle is safe and secure at all times.
An article published earlier this year by NZ Herald mentioned the most-stolen cars in New Zealand, according to police, are the Subaru Legacy and Impreza.
Although these vehicles are fairly common on New Zealand roads, it could be assumed they’re targeted because of their age and lack of security features.
Thankfully manufacturers have introduced a range of safety devices to keep our cars safe beyond a standard car alarm or immobilizer. These include transponder keys, intuitive locking and starting systems and voice and sight-activated controls. These changes in technologies have only resulted in positive results. In 2016 4500 cases were bought before the courts, compare this to 8000 ten years ago, and it’s easy to see the trend that vehicles are becoming tougher to steal.
How to protect your vehicle
In reality, some of the most effective deterrents are also the most basic. Here are seven simple ways to protect your car:
- Anti-theft devices which slow down or foil thieves. The more time a criminal spends attempting to steal a vehicle increases the likelihood of discovery and apprehension.
- Keep the car locked - Your car’s door locks are the first, and often the most vital theft deterrent system that your vehicle has. Breaking into a locked vehicle requires time and know-how, and as such, many thieves prefer to simply move on until they can find something more accessible.
- Keep all of your windows completely closed when the car is unattended. Much like unlocked doors, open windows (even when only opened a small amount), provide thieves with an easy point of access to the inside of your vehicle.
- Never leave your keys inside of your car. If there’s one thing more attractive to a car thief than an unlocked door, it’s a vehicle with the keys inside. Once a criminal gets a hold of a car’s ignition key, there’s really not much else that can be done to prevent the criminal from escaping with the car.
- Keep your hand brake engaged whenever your car is parked. Some thieves prefer to tow a vehicle away rather than brake into it and attempting to drive it away. An engaged hand brake makes towing much more difficult.
- Be sure to hide any valuables. Keeping valuable items such as computers, smart devices, wallets, jewellery in your vehicle is inherently risky, and you should refrain from doing so whenever possible.
- Park in well-lit areas. The last thing a thief wants when attempting to break into a car is to raise attention.
If you’re insured, it’s important to understand exactly what cover you have in the event of theft. Agreed value comprehensive is the safest bet when it comes to insuring a vehicle. You don’t want to be left in the lurch trying to come up with the difference in price if you don’t have enough money to be able to easily replace your stolen vehicle.
It’s not just about the loss of money and property that proves a pain. The time and hassle of police reports, filing claims and replacing your lost vehicle can equally be annoying. By taking care and being a bit cautious, you can reduce the chances of being targeted.