I’ve had one stolen myself—the same night I went into labour with my third child, 12 years ago. It’s a story that particular child would like to forget as it overshadows her fantastic entrance into the world, but scratch any car owner and you’re likely to find a stolen car experience.
My car was stolen without my keys (the police theory being that the crafty fellows lifted the Honda CRV onto a flat bed and drove it away, apparently undeterred by my screams of “It’s time!” from inside the house), but apparently this type of car theft is now not as common.
A Final Sale
“In 2010, the number of car thefts involving keys rose to 84 per cent, compared to 74 per cent in 2008, confirming just how vulnerable car owners truly are to the chances of home burglary or assault from car thieves” says Stuart Chapman, police relationships manager of TRACKER (a UK-based news release service.)
“Today’s in-car security systems make it difficult for criminals, which means they are turning to more sophisticated methods. Whilst stealing a car as a result of a classified advert in Auto Trader is thankfully pretty rare, car thieves are regularly breaking into homes to steal keys and, as this case proves, many resort to taking keys from owners by force.”
The case he is referring to involved thieves posing as buyers and taking a vehicle worth about $50,000 CDA, and also robbing the sellers at gunpoint.
Would-be car sellers are finding that their potential buyers have something else in mind besides taking the car for a quick spin before they hand over a cheque.
Once the keys have been dropped into their hand, the vendor can find themself facing a weapon in the other hand, being forced to not only step away from the car, but also often being relieved of some of their household items as well.
Those other keys on the ring? Yes, they pretty much always include a key to the house you’re standing in front of. But, as Chapman reported, most car thieves don’t bother with the pretense of buying the car – it’s fairly common for them to break into houses, look for the car keys (conveniently hung on the hook by the front door by many people) and help themselves; often driving miles away before the owner knows it’s missing.
What can you do to help prevent this from happening?
- While you’re in the house, lock the doors. Many people think they have nothing of value to steal – but your car keys are, and of course your personal safety is worth protecting as well.
- Don’t announce on social media that you’ll be away – even if you’re on a car or road trip. Many households have more than one car and how long would it take anyone to notice your second vehicle was missing, if you’re not there?
- Don’t risk personal safety for car keys. Hand ‘em over and protect yourself and your family first.
- Don’t put your home address or license plate number on your key ring.
- Don’t leave your car keys in your jacket pocket in a public place – it’s easy for thieves to find out which car responds to the automatic door opener or alarm.cket pocket in a public place – it’s easy for thieves to find out which car responds to the automatic door opener or alarm.
And my last tip? If your wife goes into labour and you discover your car has been stolen – please remember that your wife is STILL IN LABOUR. (Valuable lesson I know my husband would want to share with you.)