If car owners want to prevent their motor being stolen, then there are simple measures they can take that will reduce the chances, says AA car insurance.
The AA has suggested ways that car owners can prevent theft, after research has revealed that every day more than 50 households in England and Wales have their vehicles stolen following the theft of the keys from their house.
While car theft has fallen 14 per cent compared to last year, according to the most recent British Crime Survey, there has been a 19 per cent increase in vehicles stolen following a domestic burglary.
Burglars often obtain the keys to the car in the driveway by finding them just inside the front door, on handy hooks or hall tables, sometimes without even needing to enter the house but by fishing for them with a pole through the letterbox.
Even bolted front doors are no match for the experienced thief, AA car insurance explains, and once securing the keys they can make a quick and quiet getaway, and it can be hours before the household becomes aware of the theft.
Commenting on the findings, Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance said: "It's almost impossible to steal a modern car without first obtaining the keys."
He added that the figures reveal an "increasing determination, patience and ingenuity of thieves targeting upmarket cars, even though the total number of cars stolen is falling."
Recent car insurance claims to the AA resulting from theft have cited various ways in which stolen keys have led to the robbery: while the owners slept at night; while they were in the garden or have popped out for a few minutes; leaving keys in the front door on the inside; having the keys fished through the letterbox; burgled homes where the car has been used as a getaway vehicle; out of the garage while the household is on holiday; keys being pickpocketed from unwatched bags or pockets, or stolen from workplaces, and gym changing rooms.
Mr Douglas continued: "Keys are the weakest link in the car security chain" and car owners should treat them with the same security measures as cash or other valuables.
Owners should keep the car locked in a garage where possible, AA car insurance suggests, which will also cut the cost of car insurance premiums; keeping the keys in a bedside table or somewhere equally safe is better than next to the front door; windows and doors should be locked at night; and owners could consider improving their car's security with an alarm, immobiliser and tracker.
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