Would you leave you phone with a stranger? Probably not. Would you leave your wallet with a stranger? Be’ave! So would you be willing to leave your car keys with a stranger? You would have thought that would be an easy answer – no – but in fact new data from a YouGov survey has revealed almost HALF of us are willing to hand over our keys to an unknown.
The exact figure comes in at 43% and I personally find that very surprising. Ok, so car crime is nowhere as high as it was in the mid 90s (620,000 cars stolen per year compared to 80,000 per year at present) but even so, that’s a lot of trust you’re putting into someone you don’t know. 71% of those people didn’t even bother to check whether the person taking the keys was a member of an accredited code of practice.
However, just 11% of people would be happy to hand over the keys to their house, which makes the 43% figure even more surprising. Would I give my car key to someone I don’t know? Like hell I would, they’d have to fight me for it (and probably win). Only 11% of those asked stated they looked for car parks with CCTV, gated entry or a manned barrier and some even admitted to keeping their car keys in plain sight in their home, leaving them vulnerable to opportunists.
New guidance has been released as part of the survey to improve vehicle safeguarding and in all honesty most of it is common sense although you’ll read them and admit it’s something that slips your mind, so here goes:
1. Think about who you leave your vehicle keys with. Treat them as you do your house keys – do you know the person you are leaving your keys with? Do you trust them?
2. Check who you are leaving your vehicle keys with. Where possible, check that a company you entrust your keys to is a member of an accredited code of practice or other professional standard such as Motor Codes (motorcodes.co.uk); the British Parking Association’s Park Mark scheme (parkmark.co.uk); or the Car Wash Advisory Service’s WashMark initiative (carwashadvisoryservice.co.uk).
3. Think about where you park your vehicle – is it in a safe place? Well-lit and well-populated areas or car parks with security features such as CCTV, manned barriers or gated entry will give you greater peace of mind.
4. Check that your vehicle is locked before leaving it. Listen for the locking noise, watch for the lights to flash or mirrors to fold, or simply pull the door handle.
5. Think about where you leave your spare key. Don’t leave it in your vehicle, and be mindful of how many spares you have and where they are kept.
6. Check that you haven’t left valuables on display in your vehicle. We all know that this can attract opportunist thieves.
7. Check that the vehicle’s windows are closed, even if you are only leaving it for a few minutes. Open windows make it all the easier for thieves to gain access.
8. Think about where you keep your keys at home. Keep them well away from the door or windows and out of sight.
9. Check that your alarm or immobiliser is enabled when you leave your car. A simple check could save considerable expense and inconvenience later.
10. Check whether your vehicle has an alarm or immobiliser. If it doesn’t, think about buying an aftermarket alarm, steering wheel lock or other locking device. These are proven to deter thieves.