Suncorp is encouraging vehicle owners to be conscious of car theft at all times this holiday season, after new research revealed 60 per cent of car thefts happen while a car is parked at home.
With 20 per cent of all car related crime happening throughout December and January, Suncorp spokesperson, Ashleigh Paterson, said it was critical for car owners to be on guard these holidays.
"The holidays see people take time off over the Christmas and New Year period and get away before kids go back to school, so they are more relaxed and can become complacent,” Ms Paterson said.
“The significant increase in car related claims during this time of year means car owners need to remain vigilant and keep their cars safe and secure from opportunistic thieves.”
Concerningly, most cars are stolen from or broken-into at the owner’s home are as a result of being left unlocked because the vehicle is parked on their property.
“A number of people leave their cars unlocked or their windows down because they're parked on their property assuming it will be safe. But thieves are also aware of this and will walk on to the property to check for unsecured cars.
“Similarly, it can be tempting to leave windows on cars and homes open in warmer weather, which can become an easy target for burglars looking for vulnerable homes they can easily enter to take car keys from night stands, handbags and key hooks,” Ms Paterson said.
Last year alone, Suncorp received almost 10,000 claims relating to car thefts. State by state, 2017 saw 2,062 cars stolen in Queensland, 2,614 in New South Wales and a whopping 3,416 in Victoria.
These thefts spike in December and January with Queensland racking up 394 thefts (14 per cent), New South Wales had 349 cars stolen (15 per cent) and Victoria had 529 vehicle thefts (15 per cent) over the festive season.
To help avoid car thefts and break ins, owners are encouraged to remain vigilant and follow some simple safety steps.
“It’s about making vehicles less vulnerable and less appealing to opportunistic thieves by removing any temptation,” said Ms Paterson.
“When shopping, hide valuables like coins and cash, music devices, phones, handbags, luggage or shopping from full view. Place what you can’t take with you under seats and in car boots to keep them from view.
“When leaving your car unattended, park in high foot traffic areas to deter opportunistic thieves. When parking anywhere unsecured overnight, park it in a well-lit area.
“Similarly, if you’re leaving your car at home while travelling, it needs to be secured. Park the car on your property, lock the doors, wind up the windows, set the alarm, use a steering wheel lock and take the keys with you to help ensure it will still be there when you return.
“Furthermore, if you’re going away these holidays, it’s a good idea to ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your property and clear your mailbox while you’re gone,” concluded Ms Paterson.Top tips to keep your car safe
- Always wind up the windows of your car when leaving it parked anywhere - even when it’s parked at home. Leaving them down is an unnecessary risk.
- Park in well-lit secure car parks when possible - if you don't have a secure car park, park somewhere well-lit and well populated to deter thieves.
- When home, don't leave your keys in obvious places tempting opportunistic thieves to take advantage.
- Never leave any valuables visible in your vehicle – hide what you can’t take with you.
- Use a car alarm with an engine immobiliser - this will prevent anyone being able to start the engine without the key.