Vehicle crime can be distressing and annoying as it can cause a lot of inconvenience - you could be without your car/van/motorcycle for weeks, waiting for the garage to make repairs or for your insurer to pay.
That’s why the security features of your vehicle should be as important as any other feature and a lot of vehicle crime results from criminals seeing opportunities and taking them.
But you can easily outsmart thieves by following the simple advice in this section.
Your car. It may feel like a safe place – perhaps even your own little bubble full of comforts and mod cons – but opportunistic criminals won’t see it that way.
Thankfully, protecting your car from would-be thieves is easy.
Keeping it locked with its windows closed and any alarms activated is a sure-fire step to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of vehicle crime.
Don’t leave valuables – or anything that could be mistaken for them – on display, either. Even a carrier bag of rubbish or an empty laptop bag could attract the wrong sort of attention, while valuables like golf clubs and satnavs can become targets if they’re left inside while not in use.
With satnavs in particular, make sure you not only remove the device from view but also its cradle – and don’t forget to wipe away any telltale sucker marks on the windscreen, too.
Consider removing and concealing satnavs or valuables before your reach your destination will prevent them from being observed by potential thieves
Making sensible parking choices is a great way to improve the security of your vehicle.
The most secure location is in your locked and alarmed garage, while the next best thing is to park as close to your home as possible – whether that be on a drive or on the street directly outside your property.
A well-lit drive where another vehicle is present also makes a great deterrent to put off any would-be thieves.
Avoid locations where your vehicle will be hidden from general view, like behind tall bushes or advertising boards.
Busy, overlooked or CCTV-monitored parking areas are far safer than deserted side streets or back alleys. When leaving your vehicle parked after dark, consider the lighting and how remote the location may become in the early evening and overnight.
Some of the safest public car parks are those displaying the Park Mark Safer Parking Tick. To find an approved car park in your area, visit www.parkmark.co.uk.
Motorbikes can be lifted and carried away even when locked, so ones left vulnerable are especially attractive to thieves.
Here are four handy ways for you to keep your bike safe and sound.
Always secure your motorcycle with the fork and ignition locks, remembering to remove the keys
Set the alarm and immobiliser every time you leave it unattended. Don’t have an alarm? Consider having one fitted and look for it to be Thatcham or equivalent security graded.
Invest in a quality Sold Secure chain and padlock and always lock the bike to an immovable object, like a bike park securing rail or a ground anchor.
Chain and anchor the bike even when storing it in a garage or shed at home, and consider fitting a disc lock.
When parking a motorbike, remember to think about a few added considerations.
Always chain your bike to a floor anchor or solid, immovable structure. If a fixed anchor point is not available, chain two bikes together.
Try to park out the general view of passers-by to minimise the chance of your bike being seen by an opportunistic criminal.
If the bike is on open view in the street or in your garden, cover it with a bike cover. This stops thieves from surveying what type of security devices you are using and planning how to overcome them.
The potential for small vans to contain tools and petty cash can sometimes make them appealing to criminals.
But there are many ways you can protect your vehicle and make it less desirable to thieves.
By keeping doors locked, windows closed and alarms active at all times, it will be harder for them to break in and steal either the vehicle itself or anything inside.
Never leave valuables or things that could resemble them on display, and don’t carry satnavs, trade spares or other unnecessary items if they aren’t being used.
Tools and stock items should always be removed from the van overnight – displaying signage explaining this to be the case is also very helpful.
Satnavs should be removed slightly prior to your destination, along with their cradle and any lasting sucker marks on the window, while leaving roof bars and external load boxes or tubes empty and unlocked can help avoid any costly inquisitive forced entries.
If possible, park your van so the rear and side doors are tight to walls, garage doors or other vehicles to hinder direct access and any physical attacks