Helping to prevent you from becoming a victim of crime.

How are Cars Stolen?

If a criminal really wants to steal your car or van it is difficult to completely prevent this. What you should do is try and make this as difficult as possible for them to achieve.

If a car theft is difficult, awkward and risky the offender may choose an easier target.

The three main methods used to steal cars are using vehicle keys stolen via a burglary, forcing the ignition without a key and using keys left in the vehicle. These methods are explored in more detail below.

2-in-1 Burglary

A 2-n-1 burglary refers to a house being burgled with the aim of using car keys stolen during the burglary to steal your car.

UK Car theft statistics state this method accounts for 1 in 3 of all vehicles being stolen.

Modern cars have a range of security devices fitted that make them very difficult to steal without the use of a key. Due to this thieves will target homes with the aim of stealing vehicle keys. Try and prevent this by securing your home and by keeping vehicle keys hidden in your home. Don't leave keys hanging next to the door.

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Forcing the ignition.

This involves a criminal breaking into a vehicle then breaking the ignition / steering lock to gain access to the switch the ignition barrel turns, or pulling out the wires and connecting them themselves to start the car. This method (known as hot wiring) was once very popular, however due to immobiliser systems the success of this method is now limited.

Keys left in the vehicle - an opportunistic thief

The third most common method of stealing a car involves keys being left inside the vehicle by the vehicle owner. Opportunist thieves can then take advantage of this.

A few common times when you may be tempted to leave your keys in the vehicle include when de-icing the car during winter, while stopping at an ATM machine to 'quickly' get some cash, while getting or paying for fuel or when 'dashing' into a local shop.

Don't take the risk – always remove your keys from the vehicle. More experienced thieves may use a distraction method such as causing a slight accident, this then 'encourages' you to leave the vehicle to check the damage, before thieves enter the vehicle and steal it using the keys you have left in. Always be aware.

Related article:  Ideas to secure my car

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