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How to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen (& Broken Into)

Here at Autohouse Long Term Car Storage, we are often thinking of good reasons to for putting your prized asset into secure vehicle storage. At the top of the list is always the minimisation of car theft, break-ins and malicious damage. Here's a startling statistic: new data from ABS and CarSafe has revealed 55,000 vehicles were stolen in Australia last financial year - thats one every 12 minutes! Think car thieves target sought-after, high end vehicles? Think again! 40,000 of the 55,000 stolen were regular every day cars, with light commercial vehicles, and Holden Commodores topping the list. Queensland made it into the podium in third place with regard to proportional car theft, with 1 in every 334 cars being stolen.

Being a security-conscious Brisbane & Ipswich car storage operator, discovering all these bombshell statistics was enough for us to share some basic common knowledge on how you can prevent becoming a car theft statistic. Sure, theres no silver bullet to making your car 100% theft-proof, however here are a number of layers that will help mitigate your chances of being a victim.

Hide Those Keys

Simple? Yes, however often overlooked and ultimately compromised. In a modern age of programmable security keys and remotes, the days of the 'Gone in 60 Seconds' hot wiring and punching a screwdriver down the ignition are slowly dwindling.

Nothing says 'please steal my car' more than something like this. Keys on key racks and left on the dresser next the front door are easy targets for thieves.

Short of having the correct key for the correct car, its somewhat difficult to steal a modern car with modern security technology. This doesn't make would-be car thieves just disappear - instead, they now target the low hanging fruit, and will simply break into a house, pick up car keys in plain site and be on their way. The solution? Hide your car keys somewhere inconspicuous! Somewhere where a would-be thief wouldn't think to look. This technique is probably the single most effective means of car theft prevention.

Thankfully the old 'screwdriver key' technique is pretty dated, and will only (potentially) work on a car with traditional flat keys

Be Sure to Lock It

Again, simple right? But how easy is it to simply forget to lock your car? We've all done it! On an older vehicle, this would make theft slightly easier, however its biggest implication is opening the door (literally) to the lower calibre of criminals who don't have the smarts and/or ambition to steal the car, but instead rummage around and stealing anything of value. Forgetting to lock your car door is a great way of exposing yourself to these undesirables, as they will literally walk up and down streets late at night, trying to open the doors of every parked car they see until they strike gold with one that is unlocked for them.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Don't present temptation to would-be thieves. Never leave anything of value in your car whilst parked in a public setting. If you absolutely must leave valuables in your car, ensure they cannot be seen from looking through the windows. The vision of a handbag, laptop, GPS unit or similar will be a trigger point to a broken window and ultimate theft. Even items as petty as coins can be an attractant. Parking long term in a high-crime area? Leave your glove box and console empty and open in plain sight, demonstrating that you have nothing to hide.

Don't tempt a break-in by creating a window shop for would-be thieves

Invest in a GPS Tracker

This is not exactly a prevention, but an effective means of recovery, and will assist the Authorities in tracking down your vehicle in a worst case scenario. These range quite drastically in price and quality, but something like this available from Supercheap Auto will probably do the job nicely.

Something simple like this will certainly help in case of theft - just make it's well hidden!

Invest in a Battery Isolation Switch

Again, another very cheap and easy-to-install theft prevention device. A (well-hidden) battery isolation switch will ensure no power is available to the car when switched off. Whilst something like this would eventually be traceable for the smarter criminals out there, it provides yet another layer of security, and thus another headache in the process of stealing a car. You can pick one of these up for less than $20, and they will also prevent your battery from draining when switched off, as they will stop any electrical current from being drawn. Want to know more on battery management? We wrote a helpful article on it earlier in the year.

Ensure You Understand Your Insurance Policy

Insurance companies are great at offering peace of mind in the worst case scenarios, but they are even better at not paying out unless they absolutely have to. Ensure you completely understand the ins and outs of your policy wording, and make sure the details you provide are accurate (such as where the car is left at day and at night, security devices installed, how often the car is used etc). In case of theft, you want to make sure your provider will actually cover you! Don't have insurance? Acknowledge that risk and 'insure yourself' where possible - i.e. park in driveways if possible, when street parking leave the car in safe, well trafficked and well-lit areas. Also practice everything we've listed above!

Trailers Arent Immune!

Trailers, Boats, Camper Trailers and Jet Skis parked on the street, pose arguably a greater risk of theft than cars. This is because they tend to sit unmoved for long periods of time, giving thieves opportunity to scope them out, and then strike when they are least likely to be detected (something that would not happen in long-term trailer storage).

Need to park your trailer on the street nonetheless? Have a read of our helpful guide to doing so, and also employ the use of quality, heavy-duty trailer locks like this. Combining the use of a solid, re-enforced coupling lock, as well as a wheel lock (one that securely covers the wheel nuts as well, so they can't just swap wheels over) will drastically reduce the chances of theft. One or both of these will likely mean an angle grinder will be required to remove without the use of the key, making life somewhat difficult for would-be criminals.

Something basic like this is an effective way of deterring trailer crime - just be sure to use a heavy duty lock!

Or, spend a few more dollars and invest something such as the Saracen Ultra Hitch Lock.

Consider Brisbane Long Term Car Storage

Unfortunately, some parts of Brisbane experience high levels of car theft, in fact Brisbane was recently announced as having the highest rate of vehicle theft in the country. If you have a car that is used infrequently, the option of either indoor or outdoor car storage is always worth some consideration. Most professional storage facilities will feature a range of security measures including complex alarm systems, CCTV, secured doors and professionally trained staff, all of which combined equal a safe haven to store your vehicle or trailer, not matter what the value may be.

Thanks for reading!

Lachlan from Autohouse

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