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How to Avoid Getting Car-jacked

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 20 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cars Jacked Thieves Engine Stolen Keys

It is estimated that more than half a million cars are stolen in the UK every year. Here are some of the ways thieves will try to steal your car, plus tips on how to keep your car well out of their reach.

Leaving Keys in the Ignition

Car thieves often act when an opportunity is presented to them. Many keep on the lookout for cars that are unattended or are unlocked with keys still in the ignition.

This may sound like a daft thing to do, but have you ever left your car’s engine running on a cold morning while you’ve tried to clear ice from your windscreen?

Recent cold snaps brought with them several disturbing examples of opportunistic thieves driving off with people’s cars while they were clearing away snow. In a couple of the worst examples the victims were run over while trying to recover their vehicle.

Make sure that you avoid this sort of tragedy happening to you. Before you exit your car, for any reason, even if you are just buying petrol, switch off the engine, close all the windows and the sunroof and lock the doors. Keep you car keys with you at all times and activate the alarm whenever possible.

Bump and Drive

Some car thieves have been known to employ a trick known as the ‘bump and drive’. This occurs when they deliberately hit the back of your car – usually at a relatively slow speed but enough to cause a loud noise and for the victim to feel an impact.

The victim will naturally pull over the car to exchange insurance details, at which time the thieves, who often work in pairs, will look to distract or even threaten the driver, get into the victim’s car and simply drive away.

What should you do to avoid this? If you are the victim of a ‘bump’, you should be suspicious and try to make it as hard as possible for any would-be thief to get access to your car without drawing attention to themselves.

Try to let the other party involved in the incident known that you’ll drive to the nearest garage or another well populated parking area. Once you have done this, exit your vehicle and lock it, activating the alarm and keeping the keys with you. If, however, you are physically threatened by a car jacker that you think may be carrying a weapon, it is sensible to hand over your keys and call the police, without risking your own safety.

Stolen Car Keys

Some car thieves prefer the softly softly approach, and will try to steal keys whenever they are left unattended or for example in handbags or pockets.

The ‘letterbox’ theft is used by particularly dexterous thieves who like to use fishing rods or coat hangers to unhook keys that are left on hall tables or wall hooks.

To beat this type of thief make sure that your keys are always kept in a safe place, preferably well away from any windows or letterboxes.

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