Car Contents - Leave Them Then Lose Them!

By: Chris Marshall

Anything you leave in your car is at risk of being stolen. Regardless of how worthless you deem an item to be it may hold some worth to a determined thief. An old coat may mean nothing to you but a thief may be more interested in what is in the pockets or perhaps what it is covering. The message is therefore simple, don't leave items in unattended cars or else you risk losing them.

Car stereos along with clothes are the most common items stolen from a car. CDs and tapes, tools, laptop computers, mobile phones, satellite navigation systems, bags, briefcases, sunglasses and credit cards are all frequently stolen, and the reason these items are taken is usually because they are left in open view for all to see. Although stereos remain the most frequently stolen items, even shopping bags, cigarettes and loose change can encourage a break-in.

There are also telling signs of what could be in the car from items such as mobile phone and sat nav cradles on the dashboard which could lead a thief to suspect that such items may be hidden in the car. Do not hide anything, especially expensive items, in the glovebox or under car seats - these are the first places that any determined thief will look.

Many modern in-car entertainment systems have built in security measures, for example removable faces on the stereo itself. If yours has this feature, use it. Remove the face and take it with you, even if your leaving your car for just a short time - don't hide it in your glovebox. Another modern feature is a built-in security code. This means that if the stereo is removed and fitted to another car the code is needed or it won't work. Keep a note of your code number somewhere safe in your house and never anywhere inside your car. Also keep a note of the serial number of the stereo somewhere safe in your home.

With some older stereos you can remove the whole unit. Although it might not always be practical to carry the unit around with you, do so as much as you can, especially when leaving your car overnight or when you're at work during the day. Etch the vehicle identification number and your postcode onto the stereo and mark it invisibly with an ultra-violet pen with your house number and postcode.

Around 150,000 tax disks are taken from cars each year. These can be tampered with and sold on to someone else. You can protect your tax disk with a tamper proof disk holder, available from the Post Office. This could save you the hassle of replacing a broken window or having to buy a replacement disk.

Fit a car security device, such as a car alarm and choose a good place to park to reduce the chances of someone breaking in to your car. Never forget to close windows, sunroofs and all lock doors.

Ultimately never leave anything valuable in your vehicle at anytime - even if for just a few minutes. Take all valuables with you and if you cannot then lock them away somewhere secure and out of sight such as in the boot. Remember that anything can be worth something to a determined thief. You may think that an item is worthless but a thief may see it another way. You also risk not only having the item stolen but also the inconvenience that comes with having to get broken locks, doors or windows repaired after a break-in. Always remember - leave it and you risk losing it!

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