Tips on how to avoid car theft and robbery

By Monico D. Mekaniko

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Car theft and highway robbery continue to plague the country’s roads, more so in major cities in the Philippines so it pays to be really careful and know a few tips on how to avoid these incidents.

Statistics from the National Statistics Office (NSO), as collated from the various agencies showed that in 2009, there were 8,822 vehicles stolen. As of 2010, there were 6,000.

Statistics on highway robberies, wherein thieves stop vehicles and steal from passengers, remain scarce largely due to inability of victims to report such incidences. There have only been a few reported cases, whereas it is believed that highway robberies are more common than car theft incidents.

While the government has stepped up efforts to deter car theft and other similar crimes, it is still up to vehicle owners and passengers to have measures that would prevent them from becoming victims.

The Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), the oldest and largest automobile owners’ organization in the country, has some pointers on how to keep car owners safe from harm. While these tips seem basic, exercising them could really save lives:

Always lock car doors and windows while travelling or while parked

Always park car at a safe and secured place

Avoid leaving valuables inside the car to preclude temptation

Avoid waiting inside the car while parked

Avoid making stops in isolated places

Avoid stopping for strangers. When being stopped by strangers, continue driving to a lighted, safe and crowded place

Install security alarm and security devices in your car.

Never entrust your car keys and your car to interested buyers Keep the numbers of the police on your mobile phone.

If you are buying a second hand vehicle or motorcycle, have it checked with the Highway Patrol Group if it has been involved in any incident.

Plan your trip and make sure somebody you know is/are aware of your travel.

Make sure drivers and helpers are properly screened and have submitted necessary clearances.

Install Global Positioning System (GPS) on the vehicle and monitor its movement all the way to its final destination

Make early coordination with the destination of the vehicle regarding the expected time of arrival and the time of departure from its place of origin.

Avoid stopping in isolated place/s.

Check reports of earlier incidents of hijacking and learn from them to avoid it.

Keep number of the police on your mobile phone

Do not stop when flagged down by men in police uniform on board civilian vehicle/s. Instead proceed to the nearest police station.

Avoid using jewelries and carrying big amounts of money while travelling. When your vehicle is bumped from behind or side, do not alight immediately, instead jot down the plate number and description of the other motor vehicle and the description of the occupant/s and proceed to the nearest police station.

Do not stop when flagged down by men in police uniform on board civilian vehicle/s. Instead proceed to the nearest police station.

Keep these tips in mind and till next time, this is Monico D. Mekaniko, Va-va-vroom!


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