Are you a smart parker?

Park smart to avoid vehicle crime

Car security systems might be improving but, unfortunately, vehicle crime rate continues to grow in the UK.

Pesky criminals are increasingly undeterred by new technology. Instead, their methods have metamorphosed over time, leading to more innovative and unexpected ways of gaining entry to your vehicle.

If you think you could be doing more to keep your car safe, or have been victim to a car crime in the past, take a look at these top car safety tips, below.

At home

Driveways and garages remain the safest places to park your vehicle, especially overnight.  However, this doesn’t mean your car is fully protected against theft.

Protect your vehicle in its safest space by following these few tips:

  • Drive forwards onto your driveway or garage. This deters criminals looking to get away speedily.
  • Park as close to the house as possible. Criminals are less likely to approach a car that can be seen easily.
  • Park in line with a large window. Open spaces are likely to deter criminals.

Car parks

Although car parks are out in the open, you may still run the risk of showcasing your vehicle to opportunists.

Try these extra safety measures next time you find a parking spot:

  • Don’t isolate your vehicle. Thieves will be less exposed to passers-by in a quiet area, so are more likely to take their chance.
  • Turn your wheels towards surrounding vehicles in a car park, or to turn them towards the kerb if you are parked on the road; this deters criminals looking for an easy getaway.

On the road

Cars which are parked on the road are usually an easy target for criminals. Not only are they far enough away from residents and their homes, but they are also right on track for a quick getaway.

However, you can deter the nefarious few by planning where you park beforehand:

  • Park under street lamps. This way, if the sun dips or you are away from your car for longer than expected, the area is well lit and criminals are less likely to linger.
  • Try to park where there is a window facing your vehicle. You don’t necessarily need to be the one keeping an eye on it, but criminals may be more hesitant to approach your vehicle.

Out of sight, out of mind

It may seem obvious, but it truly pays to keep all valuables out of sight. This even includes items which don’t seem valuable to you personally, such as coins or an empty bag. Anything which looks like it could lead to something valuable will inspire a thief to take off with the goods.

Make sure your valuables are kept well hidden. Try to pay special attention to the following few items every time you leave your car:

  • Obvious valuables, such as satnavs, mobile phones, wallets and cash- including any ‘residue’ left over from valuables such as ring marks from satnavs, mobile phone packaging, etc. – will motivate thieves to tamper with your vehicle.
  • Tuck paperwork out of sight; showing your name and address might inspire identity theft.
  • Don’t leave bags and coats lying around. Even if they aren’t concealing a valuable, it might seem that way to a criminal.

If you’re unsure where you should be parking your car, you needn’t worry. With the Co-op Insurance Park Smart tool, you can locate car crime rates in the areas nearest to you. No more anxiety!