New research showing a spike in vehicle thefts during the holiday season has prompted Suncorp to warn vehicle owners to be on guard at all times during the summer months to keep their cars safe and secure from opportunistic thieves.
Claims data revealed 20% of all car-related crime occurred throughout December and January and that 60% of car thefts happened while a car is parked on the owner’s property, as a result of people being more relaxed and complacent during the Christmas and New Year period.
“A number of people leave their cars unlocked or their windows down because they're parked on their property assuming it will be safe,” said Ashleigh Paterson, Suncorp spokesperson. “But thieves are also aware of this and will walk on to the property to check for unsecured cars. Similarly, it can be tempting to leave windows on cars and homes open in warmer weather, which can become an easy target for burglars looking for vulnerable homes they can easily enter to take car keys from night stands, handbags, and key hooks.”
Last year alone, Suncorp received nearly 10,000 car theft-related claims, with Victoria logging the highest number of claims at 3,416. This was followed by New South Wales, with 2,614 claims, and Queensland, with 2,062.
The theft spikes during the December-to-January period, meanwhile, saw Queensland racking up 394 thefts (14%), while NSW had 349 cars stolen (15%) and Victoria had 529 vehicle thefts (15%).
Vehicle owners are urged to follow simple safety steps to help avoid car thefts and break-ins.
“It’s about making vehicles less vulnerable and less appealing to opportunistic thieves by removing any temptation,” Paterson said. “When shopping, hide valuables like coins and cash, music devices, phones, handbags, luggage, or shopping from full view. Place what you can’t take with you under seats and in car boots to keep them from view. When leaving your car unattended, park in high-foot-traffic areas to deter opportunistic thieves. When parking anywhere unsecured overnight, park it in a well-lit area. Similarly, if you’re leaving your car at home while travelling, it needs to be secured. Park the car on your property, lock the doors, wind up the windows, set the alarm, use a steering wheel lock and take the keys with you to help ensure it will still be there when you return. Furthermore, if you’re going away these holidays, it’s a good idea to ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your property and clear your mailbox while you’re gone.”