So you buy a car and you are excited about driving it, after all you worked very hard to purchase it. But there is always that concern in the back of your mind about safety.
What about if they steal your car? Sometimes that worry turns into anxiety and the fun of driving ends rather quickly. But are your concerns valid?
Well, there has been an alarming increase in the number of vehicles stolen in Trinidad. According to the Trinidad Express Newspaper:
For the period January 1st to May 5th 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, larceny motor vehicle decreased by 46%, as there were 317 recorded reports, in 2017, compared to 172 reports in 2018. However, for robberies of motor vehicles there was an increase of 94%, as there were 62 such reports recorded, in 2017, compared to 120 reports, in 2018, for the corresponding period.
From January 1st 2018 to May 5th 2018, the Northern police division recorded 29% or 35 reports of the total reported cases, for this period, with the majority of robberies taking place at the victims’ residence. Central division and Southern division both had the second and third highest number of robberies with 23 and 21 respectively. The Eastern division also showed an increase in robbery of vehicles with 5 reports. This was a relatively quiet division in the past with respect to robbery of Motor vehicles. 49% of the robberies of motor vehicles occurred on the streets whilst 32% occurred at the victims` residence.
Larceny of Motor Vehicles 2018: For larceny motor vehicles 73 or 42% occurred at private property and 67 or 39 per cent on the streets.
But what can YOU do to minimize the chances of your car being stolen?
LOCK ALL YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS
It seems obvious but you will be surprised at the amount of times people leave their car doors unlocked and their windows open. Sometimes they simply forget when running errands but other times they truly think nothing will ever happen. However, for car thieves unlocked doors and windows are an open invitation.
It takes approximately 10 seconds for a car thief to steal a vehicle. Just 10 SECONDS. Get into the habit of locking your car to avoid any unexpected ‘visitors’ or unpleasant surprises.
There are a few things you can do to discourage a car thief. Theft is all about speed. If something gets too complicated, hard or long to steal, the thief will abandon the idea immediately. After all, they will not want to be around your car for too long without looking suspicious or cause someone to contact the police.
When you park, do it in a well-lit area (particularly at night) where can be seen easily by passersby. Avoid dark or remote spots since these places tend to be the target for the criminal element. If possible, park facing the wall in a public car park. This means the thief will have to reverse in order to steal your car, it will take him/her way longer than they expected and most likely they will not be taking such a risk.
KEEP VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT
There is nothing more tempting for a criminal than seeing laptops, purses, phone or shopping bags inside a vehicle in full display. Just because these items are inside your car, it does not mean they are safe. Keep a low profile; we live in times where we need to be cautious and smart. Being flashy can cause serious problems for your safety.
Keep all your valuables out of sight. If you have been shopping, place your bags inside the trunk. Remember, car thieves may be watching you so you need to be aware and observant of your surroundings at all times.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE RUNNING
Yes, even if you are simply closing down your gate or you forgot something that might take “just five seconds” to retrieve. Never, ever leave a child unattended inside your vehicle for ANY period of time. I am sure you have read countless cases of criminals stealing vehicles with a baby or toddler inside. Avoid such situations by having your children with you at all times even if you simply need to stop for “2 minutes” to buy bread. Those two minutes can turn into a nightmare very quickly.
INSTALL AN ALARM AND ANTI-THEFT DEVICES
If you’re able to afford it, install an alarm and anti-theft device so you can protect your car but also so that you can keep track of its location at all times. There is nothing that discourages more to a car thief than seeing a proper secured car.
There are tools and services out there that will notify you through your phone of any activity happening in the vicinity of your vehicle.
Some of these services (GPS) include shutting down your car from your phone if it is being stolen. They also provide rescue operations to retrieve it.
Financial times are hard, but sometimes a little investment can help you provide some temporary peace of mind.
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