Two in five car owners don’t appear to think twice about leaving their car keys with a stranger, despite the potential security risk, according to the results of a YouGov consumer survey by the automotive industry, government, police and insurance bodies.
Car theft has fallen significantly since the mid 1990’s when, at its peak, up to 620,000 cars were stolen each year. Today that figure is below 80,000.
However, responding to police figures showing reported incidents rose by 8% in the year to March 2016, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Home Office, Metropolitan Police Service and Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ automotive research centre, have joined forces to understand the nature of modern day car theft and develop solutions to tackle it.
Alongside the results of the survey, they are publishing a 10-point plan to help owners secure their cars to help beat the thieves.
The survey found that in the past 12 months, 43% of British drivers have left their car keys with someone they don’t know, with 71% of them not checking whether the company or individual was a member of an accredited code of practice or other professional standard. In comparison, just 11% said they have trusted their house keys to a stranger.
Meanwhile, just 11% of people said the first thing they look for in a car park is CCTV, gated entry or manned barriers. At home, respondents admitted to leaving their car keys in clear view or close to the front door on a hallway hook or sideboard, leaving them at risk of opportunistic thieves.
Cars are more secure than ever before, with manufacturers continually working on new security features. Investment in new technology means that all new cars sold in the UK now have an immobiliser and many are fitted with an alarm and double locking as standard.
Car owners can also play an important part in protecting their vehicles by taking simple preventative measures, including parking in well-lit and secure parking spaces, double checking your car is locked before walking away, and checking the credentials of any company with which you leave your keys.