6 tips to avoid car break-ins

JOHANNESBURG - A UK survey found that the modern driver now spends the equivalent of three years and four months of their lives behind the wheel of their car – that’s the equivalent of 29 492 hours in the driver’s seat.
Robyn Farrell, executive head of 1st for Women Insurance, said: “Because we spend so much time in our cars, most car owners wouldn’t think twice about storing personal items, clothing and other valuables in their vehicles. That said, using your car as a cupboard is a security risk."

According to SAPS 2013 statistics, theft out of and from a vehicle increased by 7% (an additional 9 183 cases) to a total of 130 475 incidents. This means, that each day, on average, 358 vehicles are broken into and property stolen.
Farrell said: “Although South Africans are a little more wary of leaving valuable stuff in their cars, thanks to the rate of hijacking, smash-and-grabs and vehicle theft in this country, many still do it. 

"There are those who leave sporting and hobby items such as squash racquets, tog bags and golf clubs in their cars and those who do daringly go as far as to leave laptops, iPods and other more expensive possessions in the boot, or worse, on the front seat.  Leaving handbags and valuables on the seats of your car in plain view is an open invitation for criminals."

Farrell also says another important thing to consider is insurance cover for the portable possessions drivers carry on a regular basis: "Items such as your laptops, iPods, cameras, jewellery and even CDs can be included under the portable possessions section of your household insurance.

"If you have adequate insurance, you can rest assured that if your car is broken into or stolen, you will be covered for whatever was inside."
• Do not leave valuable items of value lying in full view on car seats. Always make sure that your possessions are safely locked away in the boot when you are driving and whenever your car is parked in a public area.
• Park your car in a secure parking lot where there are lots of other vehicles.
• Lock your car when driving and when leaving it parked.
• Empty your car at the end of each day to avoid it becoming cluttered with stuff that could be eye candy to a criminal.
• Install window safety film. Not only will it serve as protection against potential smash and grab attacks but if you use a tinted film, it makes it more difficult for would-be criminals to see into the vehicle – especially at night.
• Watch out for car remote jammers. Once you have locked your car, physically check the doors that it is actually locked. 

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