Car thefts are on the up, and if you’ve got a black Audi or BMW your car is their target. That said, if you have a yellow smart car, thieves will pass you by. Last year the metropolitan police reported a record number of cars thefts, up to 26, 273 and that figure does not include incidents where the car keys have been stolen from inside a home, which is subsequently recorded as a result of house burglary.
It is thought that it takes less than ten seconds for a thief to steal a car – but exactly how do they manage to do it so quickly? The trick it seems is a complete change in approach. Thieves are now far more likely to break into a house a steal car keys then simply drive the car away, or even mug drivers on their way to or from their car. Cases where thieves have forced the ignition to start a car have dropped dramatically in recent times due to higher levels of security on cars.
In addition to this, car thieves have also become more daring with their techniques. In fact, lifting cars directly onto the back of a truck has become increasingly frequent, and as one criminal confessed, “I’ve lifted cars in broad daylight. Flat bed truck and a luminous vest and people think you’re a clamper. They’re lifting more for tax and insurance now, so as long as you look the part, no one cares.”
Sadly many cars that are stolen are never found. A small number have a change of number plates and are sold to a buyer or via online auction sites but the majority disappear into obscurity. Many cars are stripped down to provide spare parts since thieves can actually make more money from it that way, and avoid detection far easier than selling the car as it is due to an increase in private buyers checking the history of a car before purchase. Finally, some cars are shipped overseas, in particular, it seems, to Africa, in lead-lined containers that prevent tracker signals from working.
So what can you do to prevent your car being stolen? Firstly, ensure you have insurance which covers theft of the vehicle, and be aware of the terms of this insurance – that way, if your car is stolen, you can at least be reimbursed for its value. Secondly, be sure to park in well-lit areas, or when available, in the driveway of your house or, even better, in a locked garage. Make sure your car is fitted with security devices and keep keys out of sight and safe. Finally, consider buying a yellow smart car.