Stop your car being stolen

ownership theft

Every 10 minutes somebody in Australia steals a vehicle and one in three owners never sees their car again. One great way to prevent theft is to store keys away from windows and doors but two in five people don’t bother. Be more vigilant if you own a Holden Commodore, live in Northern Territory or go out on Friday nights.

Thefts around Australia

During 2019 thieves stole 58,285 vehicles in Australia, up 9% on last year:

  • Motorcycles saw the largest increase in thefts (11%)
  • Vic had the biggest share of all car thefts in 2019 (28.7%)
  • NT’s theft rate per 1,000 registrations is the highest (5.2) in Australia, far ahead of NSW (2.15) and SA with the lowest (2.05)
  • Friday nights from 4pm-12pm were the peak time for vehicle thefts (4,822)
  • 29% of stolen vehicles were never recovered.

As you might expect, popular cars are popular with thieves too. The top 10 of stolen vehicles includes three Holden Commodore models (1,960 thefts) and two models of Toyota HiLux (1,131 thefts).

Home burglary is often linked with key theft. In up to a third of home burglaries where a car was stolen, the key was the only item stolen. Half of all vehicle thefts were in the driveway or garage of a home and a quarter occurred in the street.

Unfortunately, more than half of all vehicles stolen are newer models with “sophisticated” security.

How to stop theft

National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) claims only 58% of vehicle owners keep their keys out of sight. However, doing this is not enough to protect your vehicle when thieves can relay signals from keys and unlock devices remotely.

One simple way to stop theft is to use a steering wheel lock, which acts as a strong visual deterrent.

Second is to pay attention to how you park. For example, parking with straight wheels helps thieves drive away quickly. You could try to park in a row of cars or facing a wall.

Third is to not leave anything lying around in your car. Rubbish and mess in a car encourage thieves to look for something valuable. Never leave ownership documents in the car.

Last, use a dashcam in surveillance mode so it continues to work while you are away from the car.

It is easy to make silly mistakes sometimes, such as forgetting to lock the doors. But if you own a car that is known to be popular with thieves, it is worth developing a few good security habits.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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