Being a victim of a car break-in is enough to leave anyone feeling frustrated, exposed and invaded. Throw a busy lifestyle into the mix, juggling a baby, toddler and arm full of groceries, and it’s a situation that leaves a stale taste in your mouth.
Unfortunately though, car break-ins and vehicle theft is big concern in Australia, with Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia being the hot-spots. But deterring criminals isn’t on everyone’s mind, especially if you’ve never had your car broken into before.
When it comes to smart security measures, we tend to invest more into our homes. Ensuring our havens are safe, secure and comfortable for our family. But a car break-in can be horrible too, and finding ways to reduce the risks is something everyone should strongly consider. Here’s how to keep your belongings safe and minimise the expense and worry that comes with break-ins or theft:
Avoid Leaving Valuables Inside
If you’re still doing the old ‘trick’ of hiding valuables under the seat or in the glovebox, then it’s time to stop now. A thief knows all these things already, despite how smart you think you’re being by putting them out of sight. It may seem like the easiest option, especially when you’re racing around with children, but it’s a small change in your daily routine that can prevent a costly headache.
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Don’t Let Your Car be an Easy Target
Keep your car secure and locked at all times. It seems like an obvious point, but a whopping amount of car owners will still forget to lock their cars. Criminals are attracted by easy targets. Vehicles with windows left down or partially down will always trigger interest. Even if you’re just running into a store for a minute, making sure everything is locked properly is crucial.
If you’re heading away, ask a trusted friend or family member to move your car from the driveway to prevent vehicle theft and break-ins. This is just as an important security measure as automatic lighting, keeping your car and your home safe for those family getaways. It’s also worthwhile speaking to your local auto locksmith to have your car fitted with an Australian Standards compliant immobiliser. Vehicles with remote access and transponder keys are more secure than others.
Park it Public
Avoid parking your car in unlit areas or side streets that don’t have many people walking around. Thieves don’t want publicity or visibility, so high-traffic locations will always be a safer option. Park your vehicle in a spot with ample lighting or near security cameras.
At home, keep your car in a lock up garage or inside the car port. If your house doesn’t have these options, park where you are able to see the car from the property or where visibility of the vehicle is high. Keep it away from dense foliage or fencing that can shield thieves as they work. Avoid having your car concealed by other larger cars – especially when parking in shopping centres and train stations, as this can make it an easier target too.
Invest in a Car Alarm
If you can’t invest in a lock up garage for your home, a car alarm can be more cost-effective and will help keep your car safe, regardless of where you are. If you live in or frequently visit a high-crime area, you may want to consider investing in a steering wheel lock or brake pedal lock, which will discourage criminals from turning a car break-in into a car theft. In 2017, there were 52,858 vehicle thefts alone. Don’t be one of these statistics!
Remove Electronic Attachments
Some vehicles have a removable CD/radio player. Whilst it can be frustrating getting into the habit of removing this every time you get out of the car, it’s strongly advised when parking your car overnight at home (if you don’t have a lockup garage) or in high-crime areas. Remember, if someone does manage to break into your car, the first places they will look for valuables is under the seats, in the glovebox or in the boot. Don’t make the mistake of putting the electronics here. Instead, put it in your bag and take with you.
Invest in Insurance Coverage
Insurance coverage won’t prevent a potential break-in, but should one occur, it’s helpful for added protection. If you already have insurance, check to make sure it covers for break-in damage (broken windows etc) and whether or not it will reimburse for any valuables stolen.
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse with Community Groups
With the rise of technology and social media, there are multiple community groups to help monitor suspicious activity. Join and follow any relevant Facebook groups for your area to see if there are any posts about car break-ins near you. These groups also have regular updates and mentions if there are dodgy looking people roaming the streets and are effective in creating a support network within your community to look out for one another. Such community Facebook groups are fantastic for helping keep your home and family safe too.