Drivers Revealed To Be Making Simple Security Blunders Amid Wave Of UK Car Crime

TV’s best-known former burglar turned security expert Michael Fraser teams up with Halfords to offer top tips on how you can protect your car from being stolen.

  • Halfords research reveals that one in five (18%) don’t use any security precautions on their car

 Study reveals other simple mistakes being made by motorists:

  • 43% of owners don’t pull the door handle to check it’s locked
  • 42% leave car ownership documents in the car
  • 43% don’t bother hiding their car keys in their home
  • Poll shows owners of yellow cars and BMWs are the most likely to say they’ve been victims of car crime.

Drivers are failing to take simple steps to protect their much-loved motors despite figures showing that car crime is on the rise.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a nine per cent increase in car theft in 2018 – with roughly one vehicle reported stolen every five minutes.

Despite that spike in car crime, new research commissioned by motoring retailer Halfords reveals many motorists are failing to take simple steps that can deter car criminals.

Even though the crime wave is being driven by so-called “keyless car thefts” only 5% of drivers hide their fobs in a RFID wallet, a simple precaution which can stop gangs from intercepting the signal from their keyless entry system. Despite this simple safety precaution almost a quarter of motorists (23%) still think leaving their key fobs out on worktops is fine. Halfords has reported sales increases for these of 400% over the last four weeks.

Although more expensive cars are likely to have keyless entry systems, more than half of motorists (51%) still think older, inexpensive vehicles are easier to break into.

Pavan Sondhi, Halfords’ car security expert says: “New in-car security systems can only do so much to prevent a car being stolen. From our research it seems that many anti-theft systems can be easily bypassed and using a simple device like an RFID wallet can prevent your fob being hacked for a small amount of money. We’ve seen sales of these soar by four times in the last few weeks, while classic old school steel steering locks also remain an extremely effective – and visual – way of deterring thieves, and we’ve recently seen a huge increase in sales of these too.

“You should park your car in a garage with an alarm system and CCTV or you can make sure the area around your car or garage is well lit.”

But many drivers are failing to take the simplest of steps, with 43% not bothering to check the door handle to make sure their vehicle is locked before walking away, 42% leaving their ownership documents in the car, and 43% not bothering to hide their car keys once they’re in the house.

The survey also reveals that owners of BMWs were the most likely to report being victims of car crime (44%), with Fiat drivers the least likely (20%).

And car colour could also be a factor, more than half of drivers with yellow cars (53%) said they had been victims compared to only 22% of those who chose grey.

Former offender turned security expert Michael Fraser has teamed up with Halfords to offer top tips to motorists on how to keep their cars safe.

Michael Fraser says: “Car theft is usually an opportunistic crime. Thieves are looking to take advantage of any obvious weakness in your car’s security. Anything you can do to secure your car, and make it less vulnerable to theft is a really good thing.”

Michael Fraser advises motorists to on the common mistakes that could be making their cars a target for thieves:

Don’t rely on your car’s security system however new it is:

“If you have bought a new car, you might think it comes with a security system which will protect your car but many motors are quite vulnerable to theft; using a visual deterrent like a steering wheel lock which looks like a big strong dustbin lid that covers your entire steering wheel will put them off.”

Consider how you park your car:

“Most people straighten up their wheels when parking, making it easy for thieves to drive away quickly. By parking your car with the wheels turned into the kerb, thieves will have to make more manoeuvres to drive off. Parking in a row of cars or facing a wall will also deter criminals.”

Consider where you leave your key fob:

“Many car owners believe that locking their keys in a drawer or placing them out of sight in a secure home is enough to protect their vehicles but criminals can use devices that rely the signal from keys and unlock devices remotely. Keep your keys at least 20m away from any doors, criminals can’t pick up a signal. You can also use an RFID Wallets which provide a casing for your keys.”

Don’t have a messy car:

“One of the biggest mistakes that car owners make is leaving rubbish and mess lying around. When a criminal walks past they will see this as an opportunity to find something valuable. Keeping valuables out of sight and tidying away any rubbish is an effective way to deter criminals.

Use a dash cam with a surveillance mode:

“Use a dash cam that has a surveillance mode. All dash cams are designed to record your drive, but did you know there are some dashboard cameras that can also monitor your car when you are not there. It is a very useful feature to guard against any would-be thieves or if you are worried about any potential vandalism on your car.”

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For further information please contact the Halfords press office on 0207 287 5006 or Halfords@z-pr.com