Here’s a bit of good news for car owners everywhere: our vehicles are now safer than ever. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports that the number of cars stolen in England and Wales has decreased 70% in the last ten years. Data from 2004 show that 231,323 vehicles had been stolen. In 2014, this number has dropped to 69,547.
Vehicle security has been a primary concern ever since people started owning cars. So what has helped? Here’s some of the key factors behind the statistics…
Advanced Security Technology
Thanks to sensor technology – and the good sense of auto manufacturers to incorporate it in their cars – the occurrence of vehicle theft is waning. More and more cars—even entry-level models—now have an alarm system in place, protecting the car using both external and internal sensors. In addition to sensors, many models now feature an engine immobiliser that is tough to bypass, even for the most experienced of criminals.
Added security comes in the form of tracking systems that enable owners to keep an eye on their car remotely. Should theft occur, owners can report the whereabouts of their vehicle to the authorities so the thieves can be apprehended and the car safely returned. Vehicle tracking can also be used to gather data that can be analysed to gain an understanding of how car thieves operate and provide insights on how to develop and improve technology that will be able to eliminate thefts altogether.
The increased use of CCTV in cities, from roads and alleys to business establishments and homes, has also contributed to the decrease in vehicle theft. Knowing that ‘someone is watching’ is one thing that discourages criminals from going about their business. Law enforcement units are also becoming increasingly adept at investigating and tracking culprits through CCTV footage, adding to the security of people and properties and aiding in solving crimes.
Do Your Part
Owners can also do their part in keeping their vehicles safe by investing in tools that make cars more difficult to steal. Aside from having an alarm system installed, vehicle owners can also purchase a gear stick lock or a steering wheel lock. Make sure everything is locked whenever you leave your car unattended, and never leave any valuables on show. If you have a car but don’t have your own secure parking space, look for a spot in a brightly-lit area, preferably one that is monitored by cameras.
You should also keep your car keys safe by putting them in a hiding place only you know about. It’s not a good idea to leave keys where it can easily be accessed by someone with a long metal hook, so avoid leaving your keys by the front door. Your car may be equipped with an alarm system, but if your remote key falls into the wrong hands, you might as well have simply handed over your car to the thieves.
We’re also now wise to many of the methods of thieves and aware of the dangers they pose. We study and analyse the hazards of the road while preparing for the driving theory test and, as learners, we need to consider the ‘hazards’ posed by criminals too.
We’ve got more savvy as drivers and, as long as this continues, we can continue to keep our cars safer going forward.