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Keep your car safe

11 ways to slash the risk of your car being stolen

Reduce your risk of being a victim of crime with these tips and advice.

ACCORDING TO THE Central Statistics Office, there were 6,452 incidences of vehicle theft and related offences across the country in 2015 – as well as €400,000 worth of goods stolen from shoppers’ cars.

Other figures suggest that there is one car theft annually for every 572 people, which is nearly twice the UK rate.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t become a victim of crime and how can you improve your personal security? We’ve got some advice:

An Garda Siochana says that theft from vehicles is most common on Tuesdays and Fridays between 12 noon and 6pm, with thefts rising in August and December. The most commonly taken items are cash, electronics, tools and handbags. Furthermore, one in seven cars were unlocked when broken into.

1. If you have a garage, use it – your car is less likely to get stolen than a car on the street.

2. If you park your car on your driveway, install a motion detector light that shines on your vehicle.

3. In car parks, try to park near the main entrance and amongst other vehicles as people will be walking by and more likely to deter or disturb a thief.

Shutterstock / vchal Shutterstock / vchal / vchal

4. When parking on the street, try and leave the car in a busy area or in front of a restaurant or bar so people may be able to see if anyone is acting suspicious around your car and scare them off.

5. When parking, put the front of the car facing an obstacle and turn the wheels toward the curb. This makes it harder for the thief to roll the car if they can’t get the engine started.

6. Stick an alarm sticker on your window, even if you don’t have an alarm – it may just deter the thief if they think an alarm will sound. You can also buy a blinking light to stick on your dash to make it look like you have an alarm fitted. (Or get an actual alarm fitted.)

7. Get a club lock and put it across the steering wheel. Whilst these are quite easy to remove it is extra hassle for the thief and you want them to reconsider stealing your vehicle and look for one that is easier to steal.

Shutterstock / Oleg Zaslavsky Shutterstock / Oleg Zaslavsky / Oleg Zaslavsky

8. If your car doesn’t have an immobiliser fitted, install an aftermarket one.

9. Keep everything out of view, not just sat-nav systems and obvious valuables but coats and jumpers too – thieves may hope there are wallets or valuables in the pockets. It is better to put things into your boot than in the glovebox.

Shutterstock / Lisa S. Shutterstock / Lisa S. / Lisa S.

10. Keep your keys safe and out of sight. Make sure they are secured in your pocket and don’t leave them near windows or doors or letter boxes, as thieves have been known to use hooks and fishing lines to swipe keys off hall tables. But don’t take your keys into your bedroom with you. Leave them downstairs.

11. Finally, don’t leave your car running whilst unattended. Last winter at least six cars were stolen in Ireland as owners left the engines running to clear ice from the windscreen.

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