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Frequently Stolen Cars

Car alarms might drive you nuts when they go off when someone isn’t trying to hijack your wheels thanks to the cat jumping on top of them hoping for a quiet nap (actually, that one could be quite funny to watch when the cat leaps up like… a startled cat), a heavy truck or an earthquake (if you’re in New Zealand) shakes the car a bit, or something going wrong with the wiring.  I’m not making the wiring one up – a male friend of mine who will remain unnamed once had his Mazda Bongo van’s alarm go off in the middle of the night.  He went out practically in the nuddy to switch it off only to have a female police officer come down the drive to make sure everything was all right – she had the sense to realise that a scantily-clad person poking around a noisy car is likely to be the owner.  Anyway, back to car alarms.  They might be annoying but they are a deterrent if someone does want to steal your car.

According to Top Gear magazine, the cars most frequently stolen in Australia are:

1)      Holden Commodore Executive four-door sedan, 1999 model

2)      Holden Commodore Berlina four-door sedan, 1998 model

3)      Ford Falcon Forte four-door sedan, 1999 model

4)      Holden Commodore Executive four-door sedan, 1998 model

5)      Hyundai Excel Sprint hatchback, 1996 model

6)      Holden Commodore Executive four-door sedan, 1996 model

7)      Holden Commodore Executive four-door sedan, 1990 model

8)      Holden Commodore Executive stationwagon, 1996 model

9)      Toyota RAV Cruiser 4×4/SUV, 2002 model

10)   Hyundai Excel Sprint hatchback, 1999 model.

Not sure what Top Gear based their research on, but similar research was done across the Tasman by an insurance company, who looked at all the insurance claims for stolen vehicles over five or so years to compile their list.  The list of cars most stolen in New Zealand reads a little differently, which could prove food for thought for social scientists trying to analyse the cultural differences between here and there, although the trans-Tasman list is less specific. The cars stolen most often in New Zealand are:

1)      Honda Torneo

2)      Nissan Elgrande

3)      Subaru Impreza

4)      Subaru Forester

5)      Subaru Legacy

6)      Nissan Skyline

7)      Nissan Presea

8)      Mitsubishi Libero

9)      Nissan Cefiro

10)   Nissan Sunny.

The New Zealand research also found that most of the cars were stolen from public car parks, and that almost half the drivers/insurance claimants interviewed for the research didn’t lock their cars around their home, and about 10% didn’t lock their cars up AT ALL no matter where it was parked.

So how do you prevent your car from being stolen, especially if you’ve got one of those oh-so-popular Holden Commodore Executives?  You should be able to foil the average car-jacker by taking a few simple steps.

  • Don’t leave your engine running while you just nip out to buy a paper and some milk.  This wastes petrol and also is very tempting to an opportunist thief.
  • Always lock your car when you’re out of it, even at home.  Otherwise, you could end up doing what another friend of mine did recently: left the keys in the car and the garage open because he was going to go out again later, but then changed his mind and forgot about it.  One call from the cops in the middle of the night saying they’d found it on a country road with the hazard lights on (??!!) and signs of someone having tried to start a fire in it.  At least he got the car back.
  • Keep all your valuables out of sight.  This includes the car keys.  If you have to leave them in the car, hide them under a sweatshirt, a book or an old chip packet, or shove them in the glove box or some other storage area.
  • Park in a well-lit street or in a public car-park that allows for good visibility.  Yes, most cars are taken from car-parks, but don’t make things too easy for a thief by parking in a dark alley or behind bushes.
  • Install a car alarm and/or have some visible security device in place.

And the most annoying car alarm I’ve ever heard?  It would have to be one that produced a deep, growly voice warning “Don’t touch my car!” when anyone walked within three metres of it.  I saw this at a camping ground, and it was a magnet for kids, who went up to it and poked it just to see what would happen next.