Instances of vehicle theft increase by up to 25% in the winter months, new research by car security company Tracker finds.
Motorists are warned to be especially vigilant in the months after October’s clock change, as dark evenings and mornings combined with adverse weather provide plenty of unusual opportunities for criminals to take advantage of.
“Dark winter nights are ideal for opportunist thieves to carry out a large number of thefts whilst the chance of getting caught in the act is reduced, so it’s important for vehicle owners to take extra care,” says Andy Barrs, Tracker’s Head of Police Liaison.
“January especially is a peak month for thefts as it’s when we typically experience harsh frosty mornings; drivers often leave cars unattended for a few minutes whilst de-icing which presents itself as a prime opportunity for criminal gangs.”
Here are some easy ways to reduce your car’s vulnerability this winter:
- Never leave your car unattended whilst de-icing
- Make sure to de-ice the windshield last to deter thieves
- Try to park under streetlights
- Hide belongings such as satnavs in a locked boot, or take them with you, rather than leaving them in sight. Even jackets and jumpers might lead a thief to assume there is something valuable inside
- Check that your central locking is working by listening for its distinctive click or flashing indicators – pulling the door handle before you walk away is a good way to check
- At home, don’t store car keys somewhere visible from the outside. Car security and alarm systems are so advanced that it is often easier for thieves to steal the keys from your home, so it is best to keep them out of sight
- If possible, park in busy, well-lit areas with CCTV cameras, or where your car will be visible to homes/pubs etc. You might not be nearby, but somebody else may notice anything untoward happening
- If you have a garage, this is the safest place to store your car
- If you park on your own drive, consider installing a motion-activated security light or a small home CCTV system