With only seven police forces in England and Wales reporting a cut in car thefts last year and overall offences increasing by a third, car security is more important than ever. Especially as car thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated as they replace old ‘smash and grab’ techniques with modern technology such as wireless transmitters and key programming devices.
However, recent research for Halfords suggests that, despite this rise in car theft, motorists aren’t doing enough to secure their vehicles. In the report it was revealed that 20% of motorists don’t use any security precautions and over 40% don’t check that their car is locked on exit.
This is particularly important if you have a company car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, as these are the sort of prestigious brands that are targeted by thieves specifically to order. Flexed Short Term Car Leasing suggests the following tips to help keep your company vehicle safe and secure.
No need for keys
Relay theft is a threat to any vehicle with a keyless entry system. Thieves can intercept the signal from the key fob to unlock the car by using a relay box and transmitter which can be purchased for as little as £100.
This can be avoided by turning the signal from the key fob off and locking the car manually, but this seems a little counter-intuitive. An alternative solution is to keep the fob in a RFID wallet which blocks the signal and can be purchased for as little as £5. Only 5% of drivers currently do this. If you are a fleet manager, it would be wise to purchase these for all employees with keyless entry company cars.
According to the Halfords research stated in the introduction, only 57% of people hide their keys from sight at home. However, this simple task can hinder both opportunistic and more tech savvy thieves.
A thief breaking in to steal a car is more like to do so if the keys are at hand, hanging next to the back door or on top of the work top. A thief using transmitters will be unable to clone key fob data if the keys are out of range or even kept in a secure box or safe.
Your company car may already have a GPS tracking system as standard. This is because it can provide many benefits to a company such as mileage tracking as well as the ability of detecting if a car is being stolen. However, if this isn’t the case, the purchase of car trackers may be something that you can suggest or request. Some of these systems can be expensive and subscription based, but there are also alternative devices available such as the Streetwize tracker from Halfords which retails at just £45.
The road to nowhere
During our busy lives we are constantly multi-tasking, so on a cold day it can be very tempting to leave the engine running and go off and do something else whilst the windows are defrosting. However, this provides an easy opportunity for a thief to simply jump in your car and drive away unchallenged. So, whether you need a coffee for the road or to collect stock for a conference, it is better to take a little extra time to carry out these tasks beforehand and wait with your vehicle whilst the windows clear.
Go old school
Security systems such as steering wheel locks may seem cumbersome and archaic, but as thieves increasingly use more sophisticated techniques, such as capturing data from fobs which allows access to a car in seconds, an additional physical obstacle to tackle in a vehicle will become less and less appealing.
Out of sight, out of mind
Garages today seem to be used for everything, from storage facilities and locking away gardening equipment to home gyms and cinemas. In fact, almost anything except to actually house a car. But if you have a company vehicle, using the garage for its original purpose may prevent thieves initially spotting your car in the first place and will also provide an additional barrier to navigate if your car is actually targeted.
Put it away
As well as the car itself, opportunist thieves will steal anything on display which may make them a quick bob or two. So, whether it is your company laptop or a stash of pound coins in the drinks holder for parking, remove anything of value so that it can’t be seen from outside the vehicle.
This is also relevant for anything that suggests something valuable might be in the car. For example, sucker marks on the windscreen or a visible cradle will alert thieves to the fact that a sat nav may be stored in the glove compartment.