Unfortunately, there are still continuing car thefts due to owners trusting that their standard, factory fitted, car security systems are effective in protecting their vehicle. This is in great part due to the motor industry ignoring this problem and failing to add personalised security that you can easily find on basic Smart Phones now (PIN codes, Fingerprint readers etc.) Each theft creates a new legitimate car sale for them and secondly the Police Force’s attitude that it’s an insurance job, so why try to actually police it properly if nobody is hurt. Most burglars leave no evidence as we make it so easy to break in and a pair of gloves and masks/hoodies make easy identification far more difficult.
We must also accept the Police are underfunded, undermanned and the public turn on them for any casualties that occur if they actively pursue stolen vehicles in high speed chases. So it is probably not top of their list of priorities and when did you last see a ‘Bobby’ patrolling your estate?.
Here at Bannerwatch we recommend that for your home to be secure, you do need to spend a few more pounds and maybe a bit of thought, to add in unexpected obstacles that help prevent your property becoming another ‘formula theft’.
Thieves tend to operate with a standard ‘Modus Operandi’ (the often quoted M.O. heard on Detective stories), so if you go out of your way to disrupt this standard behaviour and challenge them with more complications, you have a good chance they will move on to the next, easier opportunity. On a new estate, you can guarantee that basically every house is built the same as the next and so has the same vulnerabilities. We have explored many home security options in other articles, so this one is going off in a slightly different direction.
Please note the term I used is “Go out of your way”. This is to say that you need to make a pro-active choice to defend yourselves against crime and hopefully you follow this doctrine BEFORE you become a victim of a burglary. We hope if you are reading this you already have this ‘mindset’.
This website resource is set up to help you protect yourself, your loved ones and your property and contains a wealth of information, tips, tricks, lateral thinking, cheap security products and advice on bigger investments such as CCTV. Sadly, some car owners have the attitude, “it’s insured, so it will be replaced” especially with company cars, but there are a number of other factors to consider.
Leaving yourself open to this concept is in fact an open invitation for them to do exactly that and take your vehicle, but it will not be at no loss to yourself. Thieves can use electronic relay boosters to sometimes simply crack ‘Comfort’ or ‘approach opening’ vehicles, by picking up a signal broadcast through your house by your key-fob. Once the vehicle parks up and the ignition turns off, the car is immobile. This means that they really want to physically have the car key-fob to get over this complication.
This leads us to the reality that a thief will want to steal your car key-fob (or spare set) and then they can simply open it and drive away. Yes, YOUR nice car, which is most probably parked directly outside YOUR house during the darkest hours of the day. If you think about it, you actually have a giant advertisement that says that the keys are secured somewhere inside the property nearby and when you are and are not there.
If you have the option of using your garage each night, then get into the habit of using it, as it may save you the boredom of reading any further down this article and filling in insurance claim forms! I have myself in the past been lazy and not garaged a car, believing it secure behind local shops, to find nearly every window smashed the next morning!
Another variation on this was a friend’s mothers handbag was taken from a kitchen with an open door, but as the thief passed her Lexus, the car unlocked itself as the fob was in the bag! So, why look a ‘Gift Horse in the Mouth?” The car went as an extra bonus for them!
To make my point slightly clearer, here is a ‘guess-timate’ look at what you may lose if your house is burgled for a key-fob:
1) TRANSPORT: Your personal (family) transport and independence for a good few weeks! Insurers don’t pay up straight away or automatically offer a replacement car to take you to work or run the kids around! Claims can take months, especially if they decide you were not diligent in how you stored your car keys and refuse to pay out! Possibly you could lose £100 per week in taxi / train/ bus fares etc commuting to work etc? (Est. £200 loss)
2) CAR EXCESS: Unless you pay an extra protection fee, you lose the excess on any stolen car’s insurance. (Are you aware of what your agreed excess is? £150, £250, £500 or maybe £1000?) You happily agreed to cover that first amount of money of a claim to keep your yearly insurance renewal cost down? You will now have to come up with that money to get a car of the same value and your policy renewal cost always goes up, whether they tell you or not (google it!). If you have 2 different sets of keys around, then you will most probably lose both cars. (Est. average £250 loss now, plus £? For 10 years)
3) HOUSE EXCESS: Repairing damage to smashed gates and doors will cost you your house insurance excess, and you will have to call out emergency repairers to board up and then come back to replace windows and all house locks (if those keys have been taken with car-fob). A friend paid out £800 for his new locks to be replaced. Patio doors can cost £1000’s to replace, as an alternative to putting a brick through the glass is new trick, burning a lock out silently with a portable welding torch! Another neighbour had her car keys taken, but luckily her car was blocked in, but she had to pay a similar £800+ for a small saloon car’s locks to be changed, as they will come back for that car later? Her insurer paid her out £90!
If thieves see any wallets, jewellery etc that will not be ignored! Sadly, recent events have entailed a high degree of gratuitous vandalism with T.Vs, fish tanks / possessions smashed and in one case, an urn with a late relatives ashes was thrown around the house. Your house insurance will noticeably increase upon renewal after a claim too!
(Est. again say £250 now, plus £? For x 10 years)
4) COMFORT: The biggest loss to you is actually your ‘Peace of mind’! You no longer feel safe in or leaving your previously happy house! An elderly business associate could no longer leave his wife on her own after a burglary and from then on had to take her with him on every work trip. Not long after she had a stroke and now they are both housebound and suffering. Imagine the cost of having to actually move house to ever feel safe again. (You will suddenly feel the need to invest in an alarm, CCTV, perimeter security etc. (Min a £650 ).
At the very least you are facing possibly losing £1000 out of your own pocket, one way or another, plus increased car and house insurance, EVERY YEAR, until you build your ‘No Claims Bonus’ back up over 10 years. I suggest that you research your own excesses to calculate your own Loss Total.
So, which of those losses did YOU not even think about? It makes a few pound on extra padlocks and a few other simple, robust, security options suddenly look very cost effective.