Prevalence of car theft reminds Christmas shoppers to lock up and hide gifts

A survey by UK comparison site, USwitch has found more Brits are hiding their Christmas gifts in the car this year, with 16% of respondents choosing the new tactic. But insurance expert, Rod Jones warned against it. 

"While hiding gifts in the car boot or the glove box might seem like the perfect plan, you could be leaving yourself open to a nasty surprise on Christmas morning in the event of a theft," Jones said. 

RELATED: Police issue warning of thieves Christmas shopping in Aussie homes

If Aussies adopt this new hiding place too, they should bear in mind that car thieves don’t take a Christmas break, as stolen car rates remain steady throughout the year, according to a crime statistics spotlight report on Victoria. The report showed that 1,308 cars were stolen in the state in December 2014. 

Victorian Police inspector, Mick Talbot told the Bendigo Advertiser recently that 16 houses were robbed and 15 cars stolen in the regional town of Bendigo in the first week of December alone. "It’s more than just a number – each of those represents someone’s house or car that’s been broken into." 

Talbot advised Aussie shoppers to not only hide Christmas gifts, but lock them up securely to prevent theft. "You don’t want kids to wake up at Christmas time and cry because there are no presents."

Tips for keeping your car safe this Christmas:

- Ensure you have an adequate security system installed in your car. RACV recommends you check your car has an immobiliser. Even a good quality security steel bar or gear lever lock works really well at preventing theft. 

- Don’t dress up your car like a shop window. Thieves could get tempted by that new toy drone you bought for you nephew. Likewise, even loose change near the dashboard can attract an opportunist. 

- Take out decent car insurance that will cover you for the type of car you have and your lifestyle.

- Put that navigation system in the glove box. Or even carry it in your handbag while you shop if your insurance policy doesn’t cover it. 

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