Would you leave tens of thousands of dollars on your bedside table?
For most of us the answer is ‘of course not’ but if you drop your car keys somewhere obvious that’s precisely what you are doing.
With the wide use of car immobilising technology in Western Australia, your car keys are the first target for any would-be car thief. A staggering 70% of late-model vehicles are now stolen not through hotwiring but by turning a stolen key in the ignition.
Yet despite the growing risk of car theft in WA – about one in every 200 cars is stolen each year – people still make rookie mistakes, keeping a spare key stashed on the car itself or engraving their home address on their key ring.
The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) says half of all cars taken in WA are stolen from the owner’s home. Another quarter are stolen from a garage or the street outside their house. Thieves mostly target the master bedroom first, followed by the living room and home office.
So how do you avoid being a victim? The NMVTRC says you should:
- Always store car keys out of view and away from external doors and windows
- Always have your keys with you, even if your car is at home – and don’t leave your keys unattended in bags or lockers
- Never tag your keys with your name or address. Use a mobile phone number or driver licence number instead
- Change the cylinders in the locks if your house is broken into
- Never leave a spare set of house or car keys in your car.
It also pays to be a good neighbour, as thieves will often return to a neighbourhood where they have been successful in the past.
If you notice any suspicious activity, report it immediately to Crime Stoppers online or by telephoning 1800 333 000.