HOW TO: Stop thieves in their tracks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

FEW things are more dis­tress­ing than re­turn­ing to where you left your car to find it’s been stolen. Car theft costs the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity mil­lions of dol­lars ev­ery year, but it is more per­sonal when it is your car that has been taken. But here are some things to be aware of and tips to help you put a clamp on car thieves.

❑ Car thieves tar­get ev­ery­thing. The car it­self, valu­ables left on show in­side, even the num­ber plates. They are some­times stolen by op­por­tunis­tic thieves to go joyrid­ing or for trans­port home or by pro­fes­sional thieves to use in se­ri­ous crimes.

❑ ✓ Most cars that are stolen are older mod­els. Pop­u­lar ex­am­ples such as older Com­modores and Fal­cons aren’t equipped with the se­cu­rity fea­tures fit­ted to cur­rent mod­els.

❑ ✓ Fit an ig­ni­tion im­mo­biliser if your car doesn’t have one. It not only makes it more dif­fi­cult for car thieves, you can of­ten get a dis­count on your in­surance.

❑ ✓ At­tach the num­ber plates to your car with

ir­re­versible screws. They have a head that can only be turned one way, so they can­not be un­screwed or even loos­ened with­out a spe­cial tool. ✓ Don’t leave valu­ables on

❑ show in­side your car. Take them with you or stow them in the boot. That in­cludes com­put­ers, mo­bile phones, sat­navs, brief cases, tools. Hide any­thing that a thief might fancy.

❑ Don’t leave the keys in the ig­ni­tion. And cer­tainly don’t leave the en­gine run­ning while you duck into the milk bar. This is an open in­vi­ta­tion to an op­por­tunis­tic thief.

❑ ✓ Don’t leave the car keys in plain sight when you’re out. Thieves of­ten break into houses look­ing for the keys.

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