Vehicle crime is on the rise across the Emerald Isle. According to a report from the An Garda Síochána, over 4,000 vehicles were stolen in Ireland in 2022 – representing a 52% increase compared to the previous year.
For motorists, this surge in sneaky automobile theft and lackadaisical larceny can mean a gigantic headache and massive financial loss if their pricey ride gets pinched by criminals.
Thankfully, there are myriad effective, easy-to-implement measures that Irish drivers can take to deter these delinquents and keep their sweet rides safe from being nicked. We’ll summarize essential methods to thwart would-be thieves and prevent your car from becoming another troubling statistic.
Install Physical Anti-Theft Devices
Determined thieves have tools and techniques for bypassing many car security systems. Physical barriers on your car make it tougher for thieves to steal it. Consider installing the following:
- Steering wheel locks – These attach to a car’s steering wheel, preventing it from being turned more than a few degrees. This stops thieves from being able to drive the car away.
- Gear Shift locks – These lock onto a manual transmission gear shift lever, preventing gears from being changed. Drivers won’t be able to shift out of park.
- Wheel clamps – These lock onto one of the wheels, immobilizing the car from being towed away. Wheel clamps are a visual deterrent.
- Car alarms – Alarms with engine immobilization features sound an alarm if the car is broken into or moved without the key. Some can disable the engine ignition as well.
- GPS tracking systems – These monitor your car’s location continuously and allow you to track it remotely. Helpful for recovering stolen vehicles.
Lock Your Car
While it may seem simple, diligently locking your vehicle is one of the most effective theft prevention measures. Don’t give thieves easy access by leaving doors unlocked.
- Manually lock all doors and close all windows when exiting your vehicle. Dead bolting doors is more secure than relying on key fob buttons alone.
- Double and triple check door handles to confirm they are actually locked and secure before walking away. Taking a few extra seconds can save major headaches.
- Keep valuables like laptops, phones, or bags locked in the boot or glove compartment rather than the main cabin. Never leave enticing items in plain view.
- Avoid leaving keys or key fobs anywhere inside the vehicle when unattended. This prevents relay attacks or opportunistic key thefts.
Don’t Leave Valuables on Show
Visible valuables left inside your vehicle can be irresistible bait for thieves looking to score a quick payout. Deter theft by keeping items secured and out of sight.
- Never leave valuable items such as laptops, smartphones, sunglasses, bags or other tempting targets in plain view. Keep them stowed away and out of sight.
- Similarly, remove or conceal any valuables like electronics, laptops or other pricey objects. Don’t give criminals a reason to target your vehicle.
- For extra precaution, leaving glove compartments conspicuously open can show potential thieves there is nothing inside to steal.
Use a Tracking Device
If your vehicle does wind up stolen, tracking devices can help authorities monitor its location and ultimately recover it. They provide peace of mind that your asset can be found.
- Investing in a quality GPS tracking system allows real-time monitoring and tracking of stolen vehicles to aid authorities in recovery.
- Many upgraded aftermarket alarm systems come equipped with integrated cellular or GPS tracking capabilities. This feature may be worth the extra cost.
- Carefully research the reliability, coverage, features and monitoring services when selecting a system. This helps ensure dependable theft recovery when needed most.
Fit Theft-Resistant Number Plate Fittings
Securing your license plates with anti-theft screws and locks offers an inexpensive way to deter theft and frustrate criminals.
- Use tamper-proof one-way screws to replace standard license plate screws. These unique fasteners prevent easy removal of plates.
- Install heavy-duty anti-theft license plate locks. These deter plate swapping or theft with integrated locking mechanisms to keep plates firmly affixed to your vehicle.
Make Sure You Leave Your Keys in a Safe Place
Criminals are crafty, and leaving car keys unattended – even for a moment – can invite theft. Always secure keys when away from your vehicle.
- Never leave keys or key fobs anywhere inside the vehicle when unattended. This prevents relay attacks or opportunistic key thefts by lurking criminals.
- Use signal blocking pouches and Faraday cages to block wireless signals to key fobs when not in use. This protects against electronic relay attacks.
- Avoid leaving spare keys hidden inside vehicles. Check all hiding spots like sun visors, under floor mats or in the trunk to remove any keys.
What to Do if Your Car is Stolen
If your vehicle does go missing, time is of the essence. Immediately take these steps:
- File a police report with An Garda Síochána immediately, providing all relevant theft details. Follow up frequently on your case for updates.
- Notify your insurance provider right away to begin the claims process. Having proof of anti-theft protections can expedite this significantly.
- Provide authorities with all requested information to aid in identifying and recovering your stolen vehicle.
- Check ANPR camera data throughout the region for any sightings of your vehicle if not immediately located.
Take Advantage of Car Insurance Anti-Theft Discounts
Having adequate car insurance coverage is crucial in the event your vehicle is stolen or experiences a break-in attempt. Be smart when selecting a policy, and take advantage of available premium discounts for anti-theft protections.
- Make sure your policy includes comprehensive and theft coverage in case the worst happens. Understand exactly what is and isn’t covered.
- Inquire about possible premium discounts your provider may offer if you install approved anti-theft devices and protection systems. This incentivizes proactive security.
- Keep records of all security features, devices and systems installed on your vehicle. Provide proof to your insurance provider if filing a theft claim. This can expedite processing significantly.
- Carefully document any attempted break-ins that don’t result in theft. Having official incident reports can prevent issues if damage or theft later occurs.
- Thoroughly photograph your vehicle and any expensive components for documentation purposes before theft occurs. This aids in claims and recovery.
- Never leave insurance documents or personal information within your vehicle. Identity theft could compound problems if your car is stolen.
- Contact your insurance immediately if your vehicle goes missing. Follow all guidance for filing a claim to avoid coverage issues. Promptness is key.
Look, car theft is out of control right now in Ireland. Criminals are getting way too bold and us regular folks are paying the price, literally. Enough is enough – it’s time to take action and protect what’s ours. We can beat these sneaky thieves at their own game, but it requires focus.
You’ve gotta be diligent about using physical locks, proper parking, GPS trackers, and all that. Think layers of security working together. Make it a habit, not a chore. And tell your insurance guy to cough up some discounts for your anti-theft gear while you’re at it. Let’s team up and take back our streets from these thieves. We’ve got this! It’s time to put the brakes on car crime for good.