Safer Parking Reduces Your Chance of Being a Victim of Crime

By: Chris Marshall

Where you park your car will go a long way to determine just how safe your vehicle, and even yourself, will be. At home always use a garage if you have one. Your vehicle is 40 times less likely to be stolen or broken into if you keep it in a garage rather than on the street (Home Office). Always make sure that your garage is strong and secure and ensure that you lock both your vehicle and garage once it is inside. If you do not have a garage then park it on your driveway or somewhere from where you or others can see it easily. If you park on the street then ensure it is somewhere well lit and open.

When out and about try and use an attended car park. These may cost a little more but you have the added security of someone watching over your car and its possessions. Where possible look for a car park which is part of the police-approved Safer Parking Scheme that displays the Park Mark Safer Parking award plaque. On average, car parks that have implemented certain measures in order to achieve the standard, such as better lighting and surveillance, have managed to reduce car crime by 70%. There are now over a thousand Secured Car Parks across the UK, each entitled to display a special plaque indicating it has met the required standard. Look out for this plaque and take it as a sign of a better place to park.

If you cannot find a secure car park then park somewhere that is quite busy and that is well lit at night for your own safety and security. Look for a car park that is well supervised with restricted entry and exit points and CCTV cameras. Where possible, reverse into your space so that you can leave quickly in an emergency. If you use a multi-storey car park then park near an exit and try to avoid parking next to pillars as people can use these as cover to break into your car or wait for your return.

When using a car park never leave your parking ticket in the car, unless it is a pay and display car park. If you do then if someone gets into your car and gets it started then they will be able to pay your parking fee and leave with your car - a small price to pay for a stolen car.

If you have to park in public then look for somewhere well lit, open and that other people can see. Ensure that it is in a safe area, especially if you will be returning to the vehicle in the dark.

Finally, whenever and where ever you park your car make sure you lock all doors, close all windows and never leave anything on display. When we say anything, we mean anything. Take anything valuable, such as car stereos, sat navs and mobile phones, with you. The glovebox will be the first place a thief will look for such items. Even items you might not consider valuable may be worth something to a thief such as a coat on the backseat. Not only do you risk losing anything you leave in the car but then you'll have the inconvenience of replacing any locks or windows that have been damaged during the break in. If you have to keep anything in the vehicle then keep it out of display, preferably locked away in the boot.

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