A friend of mine recently had his car broken into and his radio and satelite navigation system stolen. Unfortunate as it was, it could have been a lot worse if my friend hadn’t had a few other car security devices preinstalled in his car.
While we normally blog about car rental I thought this is worth a mention and partially still relevant when hiring a car with Redspot Car Rentals. It got me thinking about my own car, and its security and I decided to look into it a bit further coming up with 10 things you can do to risk the chances of being a victim of vehicle theft. Here they are:
1 – Lock your doors, and wind up your windows
Cost – Nothing
Its pretty obvious, and normally I wouldn’t even bother adding this in, but after a bit of research turns out the highest reasons for vehicle content theft is because people are too lazy to double check they have locked their car? Crazy right? Do it people. Such a simple thing to do, and costs nothing.
2 – Steering Wheel Lock
Cost – $20-$50
Steering wheel locks are great in stopping a thief from driving off with your car, and even if they managed to get it started they literally could only drive in a straight line. Steering wheel locks are placed over the steering wheel and locked in place, restricting the rotation of the wheel.
3 – Car Alarm
Cost – $60-$270
A standard car alarm is designed to wake even the deepest sleepers (much like a smoke alarm) and would either scare the thief off from continuing his pursuit of badness, or alert yourself or a nearby good-citizen-hero to come to the rescue and call the police.
4 – Engine Immobiliser
Cost – $160-$200
Often packaged with the car alarm, the engine immobiliser is an electronic device fitted to the cars engine preventing it from being started unless the correct ‘token’ or key is used. Immobilisers have been mandatory in all Australian vehicles since 2001 and included on all car rental fleet.
5 – Microdots (Datadots)
Cost – $75-$100
Datadots are very small (often 1mm or less in diameter) circular and usually made of polyester which contains vehicle information such as the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). The idea is that these circular dots are placed on various parts throughout the car so that if it is stolen, and its parts are stripped for the black market, they can be matched later down the track by Police. Not so much a initial deterrent but worth a mention if you believe in karma.
6 – Manual Transmission
Cost – Normally less than buying an automatic vehicle
This was a interesting find, it turns out these days statistically thieves prefer automatic transmission. Why you ask? As more and more modern cars are brought out on the market, drivers are more and more likely to purchase an automatic over a manual. In a recent study in 2013 on 200+ staff at Redspot Car Rentals, 60% of its staff could both automatic and manual transmission while the other 40% could only drive automatic. It seems this trend has also applied to thieves.
7 – Signage
Cost – $10-$20
Window stickers warning thieves of the presence of security devices (see above) will usually make them move on even if you don’t have any security devices installed in the vehicle. Could be enough to deter a thief.
8 – Vehicle Tracking Device
Cost – $400 + $30 p/m
The ultimate crime fighting tool, is to track a thief and allow the police to collect the vehicle before you car gets too cozy with its new occupant.
9 – Hiding Valuables
Cost – Nothing
Leaving your wallet, GPS, mobile phone or other valuables in clear view from the outside of your unoccupied car is just asking to be stolen. Tinting your car windows, and storing valuables in the glovebox, or even better taking them with you out of sight will likely reduced the chance of theft.
10 – Location Location Location
Cost – Nuthin
Sometimes no matter what security devices or precautions you put in place to protect your car and its valuables, it can come down to the actual location you leave you car.
Ask yourself next time you park your car whether this particular spot looks a little dodgy? Does it have plenty of light? Are you planning to come back to your car at night? If so, check and see if its under a street lamp. Are there plenty of people around with good view of your car? Or is it parked down some side alley away from view and perfect for a thief?
Whenever possible try and always find a parking garage or similar secure parking environment to leave your vehicle.
With Redspot Car Rentals, we offer a Top Dog rate which includes financial protection from theft and damage to the rental vehicle.
All our vehicles have built in immobilisers, car alarms and a bunch more safety protection built in.
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