Cars and Vehicles
October 1, 2023
Crime Prevention
Top 10 tips to prevent a thief stealing your car

Top 10 tips to prevent a thief stealing your car

The best way to protect your car is to always lock all doors, remove the keys and keep them out of sight behind a locked door in your home.  

Car theft is a major problem, with more than 40 cars stolen in Victoria every day. Having your car stolen can be stressful and costly, even if you do have insurance.

They way thieves steal cars have changed over time too. Cars made after the 1990s can’t be hotwired – they need the correct key to start. So thieves usually have to try and steal the owner’s keys to take their card.

Here are 10 simple tips for ways you can protect your vehicle and make it much harder for a thief to steal. 

1. Lock your car

It may sound obvious, but always lock your car doors and close the windows, even when parking at home, in your garage or leaving your car for a few minutes. Unlocked cars are easy targets for thieves, so make it a habit to double-check that all doors, and the boot are always locked and windows and sun-rooves are shut tight.

2. Don’t leave your keys in the car

Never leave your keys in your car, even if you’re running into your house or a petrol station for a few minutes. Thieves often scout for opportunities, and a car with keys in the ignition an open invitation. Keep your keys with you at all times, and never leave a spare key hidden inside the vehicle.

3. Don’t leave your car running unattended.

Never leave your car running unattended, even it’s just for a moment. While you’re quickly dashing into your home or the shop, or warming your car up on a cold morning, a thief can easily jump inside your vehicle and take off with it.

4. Park in your garage if you have one.

More than 50% of cars are stolen from homes, so park your car in a locked garage if possible – it’s the best way to protect your car from thieves. If you don't have a garage, try to park your car off the street in a carport or driveway, or behind a locked gate. If you need to park on the street, park in a well-lit area and make sure your car is locked.

5. Park in well-lit areas.

In public, park your car in the safest spot possible – somewhere that’s well-lit, exposed and busy. Thieves are less likely to target vehicles in highly visible areas, as they don’t want to be caught. Consider parking in secure multi-level carparks, near security cameras or in areas with regular foot traffic. If you have to park in a dark area, try to park near a well-lit building or streetlight. 

6. Install an anti-theft device.

Invest in an anti-theft device such as an alarm system, engine immobiliser, steering wheel brake lock, a bonnet or wheel lock, an ignition shield, a battery isolator, or a GPS tracker. These devices can be effective deterrents and make it harder for thieves to steal your car. Visible anti-theft devices can deter potential thieves, while hidden ones provide an extra layer of security.

7. Keep your keys out of sight and secure

7 out of 10 cars are stolen with their own keys, so keep your keys somewhere hidden and secure. Thieves have known to grab keys from a table or hook or bench near an external door. Don’t leave keys where a thief can easily spot them from outside or grab them through an unlocked door or window. Keep all doors and windows locked and blinds closed. If you have a car with a keyless entry and start, consider keeping the fob in a special signal-blocking pouch to prevent thieves capturing and copying the signal sent between your fob and car. When at work, keep your keys on you or lock them away, rather than leave them on your desk or in your bag or backpack 

8. Lock your garage

Even if you park your car in your garage, it's important to always lock the garage door. Thieves can easily break into an unlocked garage and steal your car. If you have a gate across your driveway, keep it closed and locked for extra protection. If you park in a residential tower carpark, make sure the entrance door closes securely behind you without anyone sneaking in.

9. Install motion sensor lights in your driveway

Thieves don’t want to be seen. Installing motion sensor lights in your garage or carport, above the garage door or along your driveway can deter thieves and help you see if someone is approaching your home or garage. Installing motion sensor security cameras, that send notifications to your phone and have two-way communication capabilities, can also help. If your vehicle is stolen, the footage may assist police to catch the thieves.

10. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car

Always remove anything valuable from your car – such as cash or spare change, mobile phones, laptops, satnav devices, dash cams, sports gear, coats, bags or wallets – and take your garage remote with you. Even if they can’t steal your car, thieves may still be attracted by any valuables they can see inside or use your garage remote to access your home. So remove to remove them when you leave your car or lock them away in the boot. 

Extra tips:

  • Don’t put your name and address or car registration number on any keys – use a mobile phone number instead.
  • Keep your car locked while driving.

What to do if your car is stolen

If your car has been stolen:

  • Don’t confront the thief. Your safety is more important than your possessions.
  • Report it to police.
  • Call your insurance company.

When to call police:

  • If the crime is in progress or the thieves are still in the area, call Triple Zero (000) for immediate police attendance.
  • If you discover your car has been stolen after the crime has happened, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or report it online at

Information you'll need:

Keep a record of the following details about your vehicle to provide to police or your insurance company.

  • Registration number and state registered
  • Vehicle make, model, year, body type and transmission (automatic or manual)
  • Body and Upholstery colour
  • Engine and VIN number
  • Accessories fitted (eg: sound system, stereo, anti-theft devices, LPG tank, mag wheels)
  • Insurance Company

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

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