Car thieves are every motorist’s worst nightmare; you come back to where you parked your car but it isn’t there. Immediately you have to worry about how to get wherever you were going, calling the police to inform them about the theft, and dealing with your insurance company. If you’re lucky you may get your car returned to you eventually with no damage. If you aren’t so lucky your car may suffer damage, be written off, or even disappear without a trace. Any payment from your insurance company will only cover the cost of repairs, or if the car gets written off you will receive the value of the car. Unfortunately that value won’t include any money you have recently invested in the car for new tyres, services or MOTs, although you can usually claim back some road tax.
You may think that joy riders would target the high performance sports cars, but actually, older cars are targeted more often. Older, lower value cars do not have the same security features that the high performance cars do. Less protection means a joy rider doesn’t need to spend as long getting inside the car, and they probably won’t find a noisy car alarm to attract attention. The sooner they get in, the sooner they can start speeding around in your car. Aside from buying a newer, more secure vehicle, all you can do is make sure that you always lock your car and shut all the windows. Avoiding parking in secluded locations will also lessen the risk of joy riders targeting your car. junkyards near me
Joy riders are only one group of car thieves, there are also opportunistic thieves and professional thieves. Opportunistic thieves will steal any car that looks like easy pickings, so the model is not very important. Avoiding them requires a bit of concentration – making sure you never leave the car unlocked, or with valuables on display, and definitely don’t leave your car with the engine running while you ‘just pop somewhere’. All it takes is the wrong person walking past and they can climb in and drive away before you know what’s happening.
Professional thieves are more worrying as they target specific vehicles and generally try to get the keys first. This can prove dangerous for you if they try to car-jack you (targeting you while you are in the car so they can take the keys, and kick you out of the car), or burgle your house. The cars then have their identity changed by replacing the registration numbers and removing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plates before being sold on, often being exported. Forty percent of high value cars will be out of the country within 48 hours of being stolen.
Car crime is very frustrating for car owners, particularly as you have put the time and money into maintaining your car, only for someone else to come along and destroy or steal it. Ironically, for professional thieves at least, a well-maintained car is more of a target. While they can’t tell whether you have regular car services unless they have inside knowledge, it is easy to see that the tyres have been recently replaced, and a clean and tidy car is more likely to be well-maintained than one that is always dirty.