Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Safe for the season and beyond

Published:Sunday | December 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMPaul Messam
File Residents and curious onlookers mill around a motor vehicle which was allegedly stolen and then recoverd after a high-speed chase in August this year..
Forensic investigator working at a crime scene
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Vehicle safety is of paramount importance to any motor vehicle owner. Can you imagine having parked your vehicle and going on your way about your legitimate business, returning only to find an empty spot? No one saw, heard, or noticed anything strange until you arrived.

However, by placing a few important reminders in the cubbyhole of your mind, you can make it less easy for unscrupulous persons to move off with your property.

One of the first steps is to implement technical measures.

"It is wise to install a quality anti-theft device which disables the electrical and fuel systems of the vehicle" advised George Quallo, deputy commissioner of police (DCP). An anti-theft device can deter most car thieves and even slow down the professionals. According to DCP Quallo, if a motorist does not have an electronic gate, he or she should turn the engine off before opening the gate.

Senior Supt of Police Bent, in charge of Area 4 in a radio interview on Power 106 said that car owners should be aware of their surroundings prior to leaving their vehicles.

"Pay attention to where you are parked," said SSP Bent. "Park in well-lit areas with heavy pedestrian traffic," he further advised.

Here are ways to prevent vehicle theft and create less stress and more peace of mind, especially over the holiday period.

1. It is wise to install a secondary ignition shut-off (or 'kill') switch. Remember to conceal the switch in an inconspicuous location.

2. If you have bought a used vehicle, have the ignition switch changed as quickly as possible. Car owners often wonder if after vehicles are sold keys are retained by the vendor.

3. Always lock your vehicle and take your keys when you get out, even at gas stations.

4. Always set your emergency brake when parking, even on level ground.

5. Before opening and entering your motor vehicle, look underneath it and when, you have opened the door, scan the back seat to ensure no one is hiding there.

6. It is a good practice to always curb your wheels. When parking on the street, slant your front wheels toward the curb before the steering column locks, to prevent your car from being towed.

7. Always park your vehicle in a lot whenever possible. Parking the vehicle in a lot reduces the chance of your car becoming a target.

8. Never hide a spare ignition key in the vehicle. A professional car thief will always search for one.

9. Never leave your keys with a parking attendant. It is best to have the attendant immediately park the car and return your keys. Avoid leaving your keys with people you do not know well, or do not trust.

10. Never leave items which contain your name, address or phone number visible in your motor car. Additionally, never leave valuables such as laptops, tablets, handbags, purses, wallets, IDs any kind of phone (high-end or otherwise) out for roaming eyes to see. Do not attract would-be thieves with bonus valuables.

11. Install an audible alarm system. Would-be robbers are 'allergic' to noise.