Stop your car from being stolen

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The car theft capital of NSW is Blacktown where somebody steals a car every 12 hours. The most popular vehicle to steal in NSW is a Holden Commodore VE 2006-13. Even so, many Australians don’t seem too worried. Does this mean we’re too trusting? Perhaps we’re just innately optimistic – it won’t happen to me!

Are we too trusting?

An Allianz survey found 69% of Australians “hide” valuables in the boot or under a seat or blanket. A further 30% regularly leave their car unlocked.

Young people, 18-24, are most likely (30%) to leave their wallet or purse in plain view. Women of all ages are more likely than men to leave belongings in view (21% v 14%) or hide them in the boot or under the seat (56% v 48%).

We wonder whether women carry more of their belongings in their cars. Or whether young people value their possessions less than older people. The results do not explain.

Car theft is neither up nor down

The last time car theft went down was in the 2 years from April 2012 to March 2014. Since then the number of car thefts is what police call “stable”.

In the year to March 2018, thieves stole 12,960 cars in NSW, that means six a day. There were three times more thefts from cars, but these have gone 3.3% lower in the last 2 years.

Suncorp says 20% of all car-related crime happens in December and January, when people are on holidays.

Top 3 suburbs for thefts

Although Blacktown appears to be third for thefts, it tops the list considering the number of cars available to steal. A car is stolen roughly twice a day there.

Number Suburb
871 Inner South West
819 Parramatta
805 Blacktown

Thefts are least likely in Ryde, with 132.

Top 3 areas for thefts

Newcastle and the Hunter Valley top the list after Greater Sydney.

Number Suburb
7,126 Greater Sydney
1,084 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie
746 Hunter Valley (not Newcastle)

Thefts are least likely in Southern Highlands/Shoalhaven, with 179.

Keyless theft is next

Many vehicles today don’t need a key to get in. A growing trend in the UK for keyless theft suggests something similar could happen here.

Keyless, or relay theft, takes only a minute and is a very quiet way of stealing a car.

Two thieves buy a relay amplifier and relay transmitter and look for a house with a desirable vehicle parked outside. One thief waves the amplifier round the perimeter of the house. If the car key is close enough, the amplifier detects a signal. It then amplifies the signal to the other thief standing by the car with a transmitter. The transmitter acts as a key and opens the car.

How to stop keyless theft

If you own a keyless vehicle, there are steps you can take to protect it:

  • Keep keys far from doors and windows
  • Keep car keys in a metal tin to block signals
  • See if you can switch off your key’s signal
  • Use extra security, such as steering wheel lock or wheel clamp
  • Use a Faraday pouch to keep your key in (a low priced bag with signal blocking)
  • Keep security software updated.

Too many thefts occur just because vehicle owners make it easy for them to happen. While you might argue the vehicle is insured, the average cost to you is still about $2,400 plus the stress and inconvenience it causes.

Remember compulsory third party insurance does not cover your vehicle for theft. You need to have fire and theft or comprehensive insurance to be covered.

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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