National insurer AAMI has released research showing Australian drivers find their car’s security is most at risk while at home. Research reveals the most common locations for vehicle thefts and break-ins is the owner’s garage, driveway or a neighbouring street.
Of the one in eight Australian drivers (13%) that had been the victim of a car break-in, more than half (51%) said the incident had occurred in their own garage, driveway or in a nearby street where they park their car while at home. Also, in almost half of all vehicle thefts recorded (49%) the car was stolen from the owner’s home property or a neighbouring street.
AAMI spokesperson Mike Sopinski said the research showed the importance of remaining vigilant about car security at all times: “Australian motorists seem to have the perception that they can afford to be relaxed about car security once they are in familiar territory at home,” he said. “In fact, of those survey respondents who said they regularly leave their car unlocked, the proportion who do so when parked outside their own home has risen significantly over the last few years – 81% today compared to just 70% in 2006.”
While overall car theft rates remain low – just 4% of survey respondents reporting having had a car stolen – having personal items stolen from your car while parked is far more common, with one in eight people (13%) saying that their car had been broken into.
“This is probably not surprising, given that nearly a third of drivers nationally (30%) admit they sometimes leave personal possessions, like handbags, sunnies and CDs, easily visible in their car when it’s unattended. Combine this with an unlocked vehicle and you might as well put out a welcome mat for opportunistic thieves,” Mr Sopinski said.
AAMI’s research found that the items most commonly stolen from Australian cars are cash (31%), CDs (18%) and sunglasses and clothing (17%), followed by car stereos or portable music players (15%).
Mr Sopinski said there were a number of simple steps drivers could take to make their car less appealing to thieves.
“Simple measures like parking in well-lit visible places, not leaving valuable items in the car or keeping them well out of sight, and always remembering to lock doors and windows, even when parked at home, can act as a deterrent to thieves and help to keep your car safe and secure.”
Note: AMI’s research is based on an independent internet survey conducted by Newspoll of 2,812 Australians across all states and territories between February and March 2010. Collected data is carefully weighted in line with current ABS population demographics to ensure any extrapolation of results is representative of age, gender and population on a regional, state and national basis.