Vehicle crime is made up of a number of different but often related activities. Theft of vehicles and theft from vehicles are the two most common crime types in New Zealand.
Vehicles can be stolen for a number of reasons, including 'joyriding', to commit other crimes or to be broken up for parts for sale on the black market.
Theft from vehicles, also known as 'theft ex car', involves the theft of property such as wheels, stereos and personal items - bags, briefcases, laptop computers, wallets, parking meter money…etc.
Thieves gain entry to vehicles primarily by forcing locks or smashing windows.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the opportunity of having your vehicle stolen or broken into:
- Keep your vehicle keys with you. Keep spares keys at home or work.
- Don't hide a spare key on the car - thieves will find it.
- Always lock your car, including the boot and, if applicable, the sunroof.
- Park in busy, open, well-lit areas.
- Use an attended, secure parking building if possible.
- If you garage your vehicle at home, ensure the garage and car is locked.
Protecting car contents:
- Don't leave things on display.
- Keep valuables (money, mobile phone, cheques, credit cards) on you or at home - not in the glove box or under a seat.
- Keep bags, luggage, coats etc locked out of sight in the boot.
- Keep a record of car stereo serial numbers.
Additional security options:
- Install a car alarm and electronic engine immobiliser (which prevents the vehicle from being started).
- Use a steering wheel club or lock, lockable fuel cap and wheel nuts.
- Etch your registration or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on windows, windscreens and headlights.
Preventing motorcycle theft:
- Keep your keys on you at all times.
- Use an ignition or steering lock.
- Use a strong, thick chain and 'U' lock. Keep the chain off the ground to make it harder to cut.
- Secure your motorcycle to something solid that can't be moved.
- Keep your helmet with you or use a helmet lock.
- Install an alarm or other anti-theft/immobiliser device.
- Etch or mark your motorcycle with your registration or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Garage your motorcycle and lock both.
- Use a motorcycle cover.
Follow these simple tips and you can reduce the opportunity, frustration, expense and inconvenience of vehicle crime. Your insurer may also give you premium discounts for doing so.