How to prevent car theft
It’s easy to forget how much we rely on our cars – that is until yours gets nicked. Car theft is a common crime in New Zealand, with thousands of cars stolen every year. Less than half of them are recovered.*
That sinking feeling as you look at the empty driveway where you parked your car last night – it’s more common than you might think. In fact, car theft is rife in New Zealand, with thousands of cars stolen every year … and the real kicker, less than half of them are recovered.*
Having your car stolen is a major pain and often leaves you stranded. Car thieves will always go for the easy target, so protect your car by using anti-theft measures to deter them.
So how do you make your car less appealing to thieves, as well as harder to steal, to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car theft?
Well, here are a few suggestions from our NZ Police mates*:
Invest in an anti-theft system
These can range from a simple steering wheel lock to a full alarm system that will alert the entire neighbourhood and immobilise the car. The type that’s best for you will depend on how much you want to spend and how easy to steal or desirable your car is.
Ensure your car has an immobiliser
Stealing a car that has an immobiliser requires a specific piece of tech the average car thief won’t have. Therefore the percentage of vehicles stolen that are fitted with a working immobiliser is minimal. The majority of new vehicles come factory fitted with immobilisers, however if this isn't the case for your car consider getting one installed. It’s a relatively cost-effective way to safeguard your vehicle at around $500 - which may be less than the cost of your insurance excess.
Fake it til you make it
Giving the impression that you have an alarm system will sometimes be enough to deter thieves: stickers on windows or flashing LEDs on the dashboard can be all it takes. Clever, huh.
Always lock your car
Sure, that seems a bit obvious, but it can take just seconds for a thief to drive away with your car (and the valuables you keep inside it), even from your driveway.
Never leave your keys in your unattended car
No, not even for a brief moment. If you keep your house keys on the same keychain a thief could have both your car and access to your house. Yikes!
Avoid leaving valuable stuff in your car
Laptops, phones, sunnies and other high cost valuables are a magnet for thieves. If you have to leave them there, make sure they’re out of sight.
Consider where your car is parked
Parking your car off-street or in a garage if available is the safest choice. However if this is not an option, park in areas that have good visibility and lots of foot traffic. When you’re parking at night try to park in well-lit areas.
At night you’re more vulnerable to theft so always be aware of what’s going on around you. Keep the doors locked at night even when you’re in the car and be sure it is safe to get out if you’re alone and it’s dark. Remember, when going to your car at night, have your keys on hand before you get to the car. When in doubt, call really, REALLY LOUDLY for help.
Wondering which cars are most commonly stolen?
If you own one of the below models or are considering buying one, we recommend you consider adding an immobiliser to reduce the chance of it being stolen.
- Toyota Aqua
- Mazda Atenza
- Ford Courier
- Mazda Demio
- Mazda Familia
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Impreza
- Subaru Legacy
- Toyota Mark X
- Nissan Tiida
- Toyota Vitz
Finally, if you’re ever approached directly by someone looking to steal your car, avoid a confrontation – your safety’s WAY more important than your wheels. You never know their mindset and if you’ll be safe from attack if you resist. Call the police straight away.