Almost 150 motor vehicles are stolen every day in Queensland. Disturbingly, RACQ research has shown that it’s happening in the one place you’d hope would be safe – the home driveway.
It’s a routine many of us take for granted – grabbing the keys on the way out of the door, hopping in the car and driving to work. Imagine if one day, the car wasn’t in the driveway. That’s exactly the situation faced by more than 22% of Queenslanders who’ve had their car stolen this year.
The RACQ Insurance 2014 Car Security Index showed that, frighteningly, a majority of those driveway thefts occurred after the car keys were stolen from inside the property. Home driveways remain a high-risk location for vehicle theft, with 22.3% of cars stolen from driveways over the past year primarily as a result of thieves targeting car keys in homes.
The high rate of theft from home driveways is continuing to be driven by overall improvements in car security, forcing thieves to directly target keys in homes either as an opportunistic “find” or as a deliberate theft target. The proportion of motor vehicle thefts from residential locations has increased steadily in recent years. Other locations identified as being a risk for car theft include: On the street of the residence or adjacent street (11.7 %)
- On the street not at the residence (10.6%)
- The home garage (9.6%)
- Bus or rail commuter car parks (8.5%)
- Hotel car parks (7.4%)
- Public car parks (6.4%)
- Work car parks (3.2%)
However, the number of thefts from Queensland shopping centre car parks has almost tripled over the past 12 months, jumping from 7% in 2013 to 19.1% this year.
The significant rise in thefts from car parks suggests that thieves may now be targeting older makes and models parked at these locations and that owners are simply not employing basic car security measures.
Overall, the most popular vehicles stolen were the Holden Commodore VT MY97-00, Holden Commodore VE MY06-13, Toyota Hilux MY05-11 and Hyundai Excel X3 MY94-00.
“Older makes without an immobiliser are being targeted at these locations”, Mr Sopinski said. “This is concerning as these areas are generally well secured and difficult for thieves to operate in, with video surveillance, regular security patrols and high pedestrian traffic”.
The good news is that, overall, car theft is decreasing. Australia recorded a total of 53,450 thefts during the 2013/2014 financial year, which represents a 7% decrease from the previous year (57,141).
Mr Sopinksi said this could be attributed to people being more careful with the security of their vehicles although, unfortunately, 30% of motorists surveyed admitted to not always locking their cars.
Vehicle break-in remains a significant problem in Queensland, with RACQ research showing almost one-quarter of Queensland motorists (23.2%) were the victim of a car break-in during the past five years.
As was the case with car theft, the home driveway was identified as the most common location for a break-in, followed by public car parks and the home garage.
“The research showed that many Queensland vehicle owners (12.3%) don’t consider their immediate local area to be a safe place to park their car”, Mr Sopinski said.
* Figures courtesy of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council’s CARS 2013/2014 Annual Statistical Report.
RACQ has developed the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of car theft or break-in:
If your vehicle does not have a factory-fitted engine immobiliser, install an Australian Standards self-arming immobiliser.
- Do not leave valuables in open sight in your car.
- Always lock your vehicle and secure windows when away from your car even when it is parked at home or in the garage.
- Do not hide a spare key in your car, even if you think it is well concealed.
- Park in well-lit, secure areas at night.
- Never leave your engine running while you are away from your car.
- Use off-street parking where available.
- Secure car keys when the vehicle is parked at home or work.
Article courtesy of RACQ’s magazine, The Road Ahead