AA advises Christmas shoppers to be wary of smash-and-grab thieves

Dubs most vigilant when it comes to car security

In the countdown to Christmas AA Motor Insurance is warning frazzled shoppers not to leave presents or other valuables in the main cabin of their car when dropping off items mid shopping spree.   This advice while seasonal, is delivered against the backdrop of the AA’s latest Motor Insurance Poll where 12% of drivers surveyed said they habitually leave items on view in their car.  A further 18% also stated they often leave valuables and important documentation in their glove compartments.

The nationally representative poll of 12,400 drivers also reveals that women are marginally more inclined to have a bit of visible clutter in their cars than men.   15% of women compared to 11% of men said they’ll routinely have items strewn about the interior of their cars.

Further analysis of the AA findings also highlights varying degrees of security consciousness in accordance with a driver’s county of residence.  Drivers in Limerick (8.6%), Waterford (9.3%) and Dublin (9.9%) were identified as the least likely to have anything on view in their car while those in Leitrim (19.6%), Roscommon (19.5%) and Sligo (19.4%) were identified as most inclined to do so.

“Leaving a stash of brand new items complete with tags, receipts and in their original bags is nearly as careless as leaving a wad of cash on your back seat in plain view.” Remarks John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance.  “The risks of a smash-and-grab break in are much higher around Christmas and by leaving a pile of easy to exchanges good on display, the unfortunate reality is that you’re singling out your own car as a target.”

AA Motor Insurance also highlights that the terms and conditions relating to the theft of personal belongings will vary from one motor insurance policy to the next.  “In some cases your personal belonging will only be covered against theft if locked in the boot so all the more reason to get into good habits.” advises Farrell.

The AA Motor Insurance Poll which equally looked at a wider matrix of car security measures also identifies other areas where complacency has crept in among motorists.

22% of the drivers polled said they rarely bother to lock their car when paying for fuel, something the AA particularly urges lone female motorists to avoid doing.  The AA Motor Insurance Poll again identifies quite an inter county variance in this regard.  At the upper end of the scale, 34%, 31% and 31% of motorists in counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo respectively say they’re not inclined to lock up when slipping in to pay for fuel and use the shop.  Inversely least likely to do so were drivers in Kerry, Offaly, Monaghan and Dublin yet again.

Tallying in with Dublin motorists more security conscious behaviours, Central Statistic Office figures for the third quarter of 2011 reveal that car related crimes were almost seven times higher in the Dublin Region Garda Division than in the Limerick Garda Division, the region second most afflicted by car theft and associated crimes.[i]

The AA Motor Insurance Poll does however show that most motorists are clued in to the theft beacon that is their Sat Nav.  Just 8% of Sat Nav owners polled said they’re in the habit of leaving their Sat Nav in place once they’ve parked up their vehicles.

Other anti vandalism and theft security practices queried during the AA poll included the use of steering wheel locks, security car clamps, car covers and the tucking in of wing mirrors and aerials when parking.

At 14%, Dublin drivers were identified as most likely to regularly use a steering wheel locking device while just 1.4% of Monaghan drivers said they use one.

Motorists are invited to share their views on this and other motoring topics via the AA Blog: www.theaa.ie/blog

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 Notes to the editor;

 Fig. 1 How often poll respondents said that they do the following.  (Based on 12,407 responses) 

  Daily Regularly Seldom Rarely Never Doesn’t apply to me
Leave items on view in your car 3.1% 9.3% 21.5% 25.8% 40.4% 0.2%
Leave valuables/important documents in your glove compartment 3.7% 14.7% 20.0% 22.4% 39.1% 0.5%
Leave your Sat Nav in its cradle when your car is parked 1.6% (= 3.1% of SatNav owners) 2.4% (=4.7% of SatNav owners) 3.0% (=5.8% of SatNav owners) 4.7% (=9.1% of SatNav owners) 40.0% (=77.7% of SatNav owners) 48.5%
Leave your car door open when you go to pay for petrol 2.0% 19.8% 7.5% 10.8% 59.4% 0.8%
Use a steering wheel locking device 6.1% 3.8% 2.8% 3.6% 77.7% 6.5%
Use a security car wheel clamp 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 0.7% 91.2% 7.5%
Use a car cover 0.3% 0.6% 1.5% 1.7% 90.0% 6.3%
Tuck in your wing mirrors and aerial when parking 8.5% 15.9% 13.8% 14.4% 44.8% 2.9%
Store your car keys in a safe, unobvious place in your home 27.7% 22.7% 12.4% 12.3% 24.6% 0.7%
Other 6.5% 4.6% 5.5% 3.2% 13.6% 66.9%

Figure 2: County by county split of poll participants who indicated they do the following DAILY/REGULARLY:

  CW (118 resps.) CN (132 resps.) CE (277 resps.) C (1470 resps.) DL (185 resps.) D (4,489 resps.) G (524 resps.) KY (205 resps.)
Leave items on view in your car 11% 18.2% 13% 15.8% 15.8% 9.9% 17.7% 19%
Leave valuables/nb docs in your glove compartmt 26.2% 27.3% 25% 20.8% 22.4% 15.3% 20.7% 28.5%
Leave your Sat Nav in its cradle when your car is parked 12.5% of those who own a SatNav 8.7% of those who own a SatNav 8.7% of those who own a SatNav 11.2% of those who own a SatNav 5.6% of those who own a SatNav 6% of those who own a SatNav 10.2% of those who own a SatNav 13.3% of those who own a SatNav
Leave your car door open when you go to pay for petrol 19.5% 19.7% 28.9% 24.1% 33.5% 19.3% 25% 27.9%
Use a steering wheel locking device 12.7% 6% 7.9% 7.1% 6.5% 13.9% 7.2% 6.8%
Use a security car wheel clamp 0.9% 1.5% 0% 0.2% 0% 0.6% 0% 0.5%
Use a car cover 2% 3% 1.9% 0.8% 0% 0.7% 0.8% 1.5%
Tuck in your wing mirrors and aerial when parking 26.2% 22% 20.6% 30% 15.7% 25.6% 22.5% 23.7%
Store your car keys in a safe, unobvious place in your home 53% 53.1% 43.4% 45.8% 45.7% 52.9% 50.2% 46.2%
Other 7.7% 21.7% 14% 7.4% 12.5% 15.8% 13.5% 15.8%

Fig 2 cont’d:

  KE (777 resps.) KK (188 resps.) LS (153 resps.) LM (51 resps.) L/LK (422 resps.) LD (74 resps.) LH (232 resps.) MO (223 resps.)
Leave items on view in your car 10.5% 15.5% 15.1% 19.6% 8.6% 13.6% 10.8% 15.3%
Leave valuables/nb docs in your glove compartmt 17.4% 17.3% 20.4% 15.7% 18.9% 25.7% 16.8% 21.7%
Leave your Sat Nav in its cradle when your car is parked 8% of those who own a SatNav 10.6% of those who own a SatNav 14.5% of those who own a SatNav 3.3% of those who own a SatNav 4.1% of those who own a SatNav 7.7% of those who own a SatNav 8.5% of those who own a SatNav 7.2% of those who own a SatNav
Leave your car door open when you go to pay for petrol 16.4% 25.7% 22.4% 31.4% 21.6% 20.3% 21.3% 34.7%
Use a steering wheel locking device 7.5% 7% 4.6% 12.0% 8.1% 9.8% 10.3% 5.4%
Use a security car wheel clamp 0.8% 0.5% 0% 0% 0.2% 1.4% 0% 0.5%
Use a car cover 0.9% 1.6% 0% 0% 0.2% 1.4% 0.4% 1%
Tuck in your wing mirrors and aerial when parking 22.6% 19.8% 23.2% 16% 23% 13.6% 24.5% 20.6%
Store your car keys in a safe, unobvious place in your home 53.7% 51.7% 49.7% 49% 49.8% 41.6% 58% 46.8%
Other 8.8% 10.3% 12% 33.3% 9.6% 6.7% 10.5% 12.9%

Fig 2 cont’d:

  MN (72 resps.) OY (124 resps.) RN (118 resps.) SO (161 resps.) TN/TS (289 resps.) W/WD (299 resps.) WH (210 resps.) WX (335 resps.) WW (528 resps.)
Leave items on view in your car 12.5% 12.2% 19.5% 19.4% 16% 9.3% 14.8% 15.8% 12.2%
Leave valuables/nb docs in your glove compartmt 13.9% 21.1% 23.7% 26.3% 22.6% 18.8% 17.2% 18.2% 19.9%
Leave your Sat Nav in its cradle when your car is parked 0% of those who own a SatNav 5.9% of those who own a SatNav 7.7% of those who own a SatNav 6% of those who own a SatNav 6.4% of those who own a SatNav 6.5% of those who own a SatNav 13.1% of those who own a SatNav 9% of those who own a SatNav 8.7% of those who own a SatNav
Leave your car door open when you go to pay for petrol 18.1% 17.1% 22.9% 31.3% 22.9% 29.5% 20% 24.6% 20.8%
Use a steering wheel locking device 1.4% 8.3% 7.8% 6.4% 6% 7.1% 6.2% 8.5% 8.4%
Use a security car wheel clamp 0% 0.8% 0.8% 0.6% 0% 0.6% 0.5% 0.3% 0%
Use a car cover 1.4% 0% 2.6% 0.6% 1.5% 0.7% 1% 0.3% 1.2%
Tuck in your wing mirrors and aerial when parking 13.3% 30.9% 21.2% 15.7% 26% 29.9% 16.3% 23.4% 25%
Store your car keys in a safe, unobvious place in your home 52.2% 46.6% 50.9% 46.1% 7.3% 48.5% 41.8% 50.1% 49.3%
Other 8.3% 17.6% 20.8% 6.8% 7.3% 13.3% 2.9% 5.9% 13%

[i] Q3 2011 CSO Car Crime by Garda Division www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=CJQ03&PLanguage=0