Easily started, often stolen
Most thieves are amateurs, and they take pride in stealing, not in the vehicles they drive. It's not expensive new vehicles but models 5 or 6 years old that head the “most often stolen” list. Why? Because they're easy to steal. Owners leave a door unlocked, sometimes with keys in the ignition. Stolen vehicles are often driven away with the owner's keys.
Car theft is serious to the victims. To amateurs it is just the evening's entertainment. All thieves prefer to start quickly and get away without challenge. Given a choice of cars to take “for the fun of it”, a thief will take the vehicle that is least defended. Make a habit of pocketing the key and checking all door locks.
Why anti-theft devices work:
- Use the sticker that comes with your auto burglar alarm, if you have one. Even in an underground lot, a thief will try to avoid triggering an alarm;
- A locking bar to the steering wheel will prevent theft, too, even by professionals. Smooth getaways depend on speed, and removing an anti-theft device takes time;
- Unless crime is unusual in your area, find out what vehicles are considered easy to steal. Yours may be one of them. Improving its security might spare you some trouble and expense;
- Theft by amateurs is usually a group affair, so many vehicles are stolen more than once. Someone who has ridden in a stolen car may come back to take it for a spin on their own. If your vehicle has been stolen before, an anti-theft device is worth buying;
- An ignition disabling system is a standard feature in some recent models. The system prevents a thief from driving your car away, but you need protection against break-ins as well. If someone breaks into your car but can't start it, they might vandalize it for revenge; and
- If someone steals your car by breaking an approved anti-theft device, and if your ICBC coverage included loss or damage by theft, you may receive a rebate of the deductible from your claim.
Any parking spot can be made safer
- Lock both the vehicle and garage when you have parked there.
Whether coming or going, close the garage door.
- Lock up garden tools. They could be used for breaking into your vehicle.
- A vehicle parked on the street is less at risk if under a light and away from fencing or shrubs that could conceal a break-in.
- If the driveway is used for parking, light it with shielded fixtures. Many outdoor lights have automatic switches that respond to motion; these save power while providing security.
- If you park under your building in a secured lot, always watch the gate close fully before driving to your space. Someone could be waiting to walk in after you. Keep the entrance ramp or driveway well lit.
For further information, please contact the Saanich Police Department at 250-475-4321.
Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program comes to an end
With auto-theft at an all-time low, BCAA, ICBC and local police have decided to retire the Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program.
The CAT program began in 1993 and authorized police to stop and check any vehicle displaying a CAT decal between 1 and 5 a.m., In addition, the decal offered a visual clue to would-be thieves that stealing a CAT-decaled car would increase their risk of being caught.
Today’s technologies such as engine immobilizers and police surveillance tools and new programs such as Bait-Car, have ultimately made the CAT program “redundant”.
Don’t get complacent
Although auto theft is down, vehicle owners still need to be vigilant in protecting themselves. Today’s electronic engine immobilizers offer excellent protection, and can get you a discount on your insurance, too! New car owners are automatically protected by an engine immobilizer (all new cars sold in Canada since September 2007 are required by law to be equipped with one).
Owners of pre-2007 vehicles not already protected by an immobilizer might want to look at purchasing one and having it installed by a qualified installer.
Don’t remove your sticker
ICBC research shows that car thieves are less likely to steal a CAT-decaled vehicle as they think it could mean the vehicle is alarmed or under surveillance. So, leave your sticker in place for a little extra peace of mind.