There are some basic precautions you can take to try and safeguard your car every time you leave it unattended, no matter how briefly. These include shutting the windows and sunroof, locking the doors and boot, and removing the key from the ignition.
You should never have valuables on display while parked or on the move, nor should you leave driving documents and vehicle registration details in your car.
When parking on the road, make sure the car is parked on a well-lit busy street, in full view of passers by. If you need to leave it in a car park, try to find one with the police approved Safer Parking scheme, which displays the Park Mark logo. Visit the Saferparking website to locate ‘Park Mark' car parks near you. Failing this, look for one that has attendants and is patrolled.
When parking at home, use your garage if you have one and make sure you lock it and your car.
Once you've parked, use an immobiliser to prevent the car from being driven away (newer cars are very likely to have one already fitted, as the Government made this compulsory in 1998).
Take steps to protect your vehicle
Locking wheel nuts are easy to fit and effective. Also have your vehicle registration number or the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (which can be found on the dashboard of most new cars) etched onto all glass surfaces.
If you have a portable sat nav, take it with you when you leave your car. This includes the cradle and suction pads – in order that thieves don't break in under the assumption that it has been hidden in the glove compartment.
Mark your equipment, such as your car stereo, with your vehicle registration number. Alternatively, you can have them security coded. If the item is removed, the code will need to be re-entered before it can be operated again.
When you are driving keep the doors locked and hide anything of value, to prevent opportunist thieves taking advantage at traffic jams or red lights.
- If a thief attempts to steal your car while you’re in it, use the horn and car lights to attract attention.
Don’t attract opportunist thieves by displaying your keys in view. Avoid leaving keys near the letterbox or on a shelf in the hall where a rod and hook could fish them out.