Unless you have fallen victim to it, car theft doesn’t cross everyone’s mind. We like to think that we are safe, that it couldn't possibly happen to ourselves. However, the reality is that 1 in 163 Australian households have been affected by car theft. Preventing car theft comes down to educating yourself on the facts and today, we’d like to debunk some more misconceptions about car theft.
“Car theft only happens at night”
Statistically, a car is more likely to be stolen during the evening and at night. However, car theft happens around the clock and on every day of the week. Just because you’re going driving on a Tuesday morning, doesn’t mean you can afford to let your guard down. Take the same precautions when parking your car on every day of the week. Remember to lock your car and remove any temptations found inside. Keep your keys secure and park somewhere well lit and in plain sight.
“My car uses a keyless fob. There’s no way it can be stolen”
Watch the video to see how thieves beat a keyless fob (video uploaded by West Midlands Police).
Keyless fobs can make your prevent your car from being hotwired and resist being opened by a lockout tool. However, they can be circumvented with a pair radio amplification devices which can be made from inexpensive consumer electronics. These work by boosting the signal from the key fob to complete the “handshake” process between the key and car and have a range of up to a hundred meters.
In Germany, 2016, the ADAC created a set of these devices and tested over two dozen different car models that used keyless fobs to unlock doors and start their engines. All but one car was able to be opened and driven away using these devices.
“Even if my car is stolen, insurance will cover it”
According to the NMVTRC, victims of motor theft will usually incur, on average, around $5000 out of pocket expenses. Even if you are insured, you may be hit with excess costs, ongoing loan repayments and alternative travel costs. Not to mention, insurance won’t cover the loss of valuables such as tools, electronics, sporting equipment and documents that could have been be left inside.
(photo by rick, via flickr)
“But, vehicle theft is declining, right?”
Well, yes and no. Comparing 2016 to 2017, the NMVTRC reported a 7% drop in vehicle theft, from 56,927 cases to 52,858. Which is great news. However, if you compare 2013 to 2017, the change is negligible: 52,805 cases to 52,858. Furthermore, if you compare 2013 to 2017 and only look at passenger/light commercial theft numbers, it has in fact gone up 2%, from 41,618 to 42,952.
You must also consider the theft statistics of different States. For example, between 2016 and 2017, Victoria saw theft figures drop, from 19,572 cases to 15,332, or a 22% decrease. On the other hand, Queensland saw an increase of 10%: from 10,117 cases to 11,125.
For the full set of statistics, visit carsafe.com.au/statistics.
“I can get my car back if it’s stolen”
Statistically speaking, if your car has been stolen, you have a 1 in 5 chance of never seeing it again. In Australia, out of the 42,952 cars stolen in 2017, 9,072 (or 21%) were not recovered. However, you can better your chances of recovery with the aid of anti-theft devices such as Black Knight GPS vehicle trackers. Knowing the whereabouts of your car around the clock makes it infinitely more likely to be located by the police and returned to you. Furthermore, if your car is labelled as being monitored, it is far less likely to be stolen.
Don't be complacent about vehicle theft. Take every precaution to secure your car, on the road and when parked at home. While you may think that your car is safe, crafty thieves can find an exploit to unlock and drive away with it. Educate yourself and look at local theft statistics. While you may have insurance, it will still cost you an arm and a leg. Consider anti-theft devices such as a GPS vehicle tracker. Sign up for a plan today for the ultimate peace of mind.