It is almost impossible to steal a modern car without using the keys. So why is it then that we are so flippant with our car key security?
The majority of us don’t live a lifestyle of the rich and famous with manned guarding, chauffeurs and butlers to protect our precious belongings, look after our vehicles and drive us around and pamper to our every need. So it falls upon us to put security in place, not only for our beloved vehicles but also their keys.
Let’s face it we would never leave a wedge of £10,000 in cash in the way of opportunist thieves, which is effectively what we are doing when we leave our car key accessible. Here are 4 reasons why car key security is important and why you should treat your car keys as cash:
#1 Frost Jackers
As the temperature drops bringing in frosty mornings the opportunities for car criminals will be on the rise. They will have a close eye on the weather to spot days that are ripe for frost jacking. This is when criminals steal cars from outside houses, particularly from driveways, that have been left running with the keys in the ignition to defrost them. An absolute gift for criminals.
Although some frost jackings are simple opportunists, others are planned with thieves stealing specific car makes and models. They monitor the vehicles that are parked out overnight and wait for the cold weather to set in and for the owner to leave the vehicle running unattended.
The security built into modern vehicles makes it very difficult to steal them without the keys, so every year thieves make the most of any cold snaps and target car owners that take risks on frosty mornings.
Drivers are urged to use their common sense and are advised not to leave their cars running unattended. Apart from the risks of your car being stolen it could also lead to police prosecution and you may even find that insurance companies refuse the claim for the theft.
#2 House Burglaries
Our hallway’s offer great opportunities for thieves too. Burglars entering homes and simply taking what is inside the door in the hallway is another common crimewave. It is common for handbags, car keys and even wallets to be left on hallway tables, on hooks close to the front door or in coat pockets hanging in the hall. These thieves usually strike at night when the homeowners are sleeping. Burglars getting hold of sets of keys not only puts your car at risk of being stolen, it also gives them a means of re-entry your property at a later date for larger items.
#3 Letter Box Looters
When you go to bed take your car key with you. A burglar doesn’t need to enter your home to steal your keys, they can use the letter box. They use a tool similar to a fishing rod to reach in through the letterbox and swipe keys left in the near vicinity. Never leave your keys in the lock of your front door either, this makes them very accessible for the burglar that chooses to be a letterbox looter. This kind of crime would never have arisen if all of our properties had manned guards. No such luck, only for the rich and famous I’m afraid.
Remember that your car insurance company may not pay out if your car has been taken with the keys. However, the theft of your car keys could be covered by your home insurance policy.
#4 Bag Heists
One of the best places for a car thief to find your keys is, of course, your bag. It is important that you don’t leave your bag unattended regardless of where you are. There has been a recent increase in theft of car keys from sports bags and lockers, and you are also at risk in your workplace.
When carrying keys ensure that they are not visible. Tuck them well inside your bag and avoid leaving them resting on the top. When carrying them on your person avoid loose baggy pockets, tuck them in an inside or secure pocket where you can feel your keys. Trust no-one when it comes to your keys, you never know when a thief will strike.
It is also important to make your car keys as anonymous as possible, don’t attach anything that will identify your car. Ditch the manufacturers key fob to make the burglars job more difficult should they get hold of your keys.
Including both your house and car keys on the same keyring is more inviting to thieves too and could put you at risk of not only a car theft but a house burglary too.
Even though it is more difficult to steal cars than ever before, car thieves are clever and are coming up with new methods all the time. Treat your keys like cash and keep them safe with you at all times.
Have you lost your keys and suffered a car theft as a result? Share your experience with us in the comments.