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Spotlight on security

By raccars Published

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Car crime used to be a hot topic in the press. Just because it has become a lower priority issue in the past few years, doesn't mean your car is not at risk. While newer cars, with their sophisticated internet connectivity and high tech satellite navigation systems, are at risk from a different type of car thief from the stereotypical hoodie-wearing boy racer, classic and vintage vehicles are also receiving growing attention from thieves. What steps can you take to protect your wheels?

Fit an alarm

The first wall of defence has to be an alarm. Owners of newer cars may assume their vehicle is alarmed but may be surprised - entry level models in particular aren't necessarily fitted with alarms, even if they have central locking. Insurers may offer you a lower premium if you fit a Thatcham approved alarm system. Thatcham certified alarms come in seven categories and are recognised by insurers to offer a certain standard of protection.

An alarm can protect against not only car theft but other levels of crime, such as vandalism and other damage. One unfortunate Audi RS4 owner saw his car written off by insurers after a break in - the thieves left the car behind, but caused enough damage to outweigh the £26,000 value of his vehicle.

Fit an immobiliser

You should always go for an alarm with an immobiliser if your vehicle doesn't have one already. These come in electronic and manual forms. The former interrupts the ignition circuit, the latter is otherwise known as a steering lock. These aren't sophisticated but they work, as it takes thieves a longer time than they want to spend to remove them.

Fit a tracking system

These are popular on expensive, high end or rare cars and, in fact, sometimes are included as a condition by insurers of such vehicles. While they don't prevent your car from being stolen in themselves, they work as a deterrent to thieves, as they allow police to track the location of a stolen vehicle. Even if the worst happens, at least you will be able to recover your car. Ninety five per cent of cars fitted with trackers are recovered, 86% of them within 24 hours of the theft.

Don't leave anything on show

A large number of car thefts are opportunistic, so don't encourage any thieves by leaving expensive goods visible in your car. If you must leave them in the car, hide items such as mobile phones, sat nav devices or any bags in the glove box or other storage spaces.

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