Mike Stevens | Aug 18, 2010

New research by insurer AAMI shows there's no place like home for car thieves.

The study showed that of the one in eight Australian drivers (13 percent) that had been the victim of a car break-in, more than half (51 percent) said the incident had occurred in their own garage, driveway or in a nearby street where they park their car while at home.

In almost half of all vehicle thefts recorded (49 percent) the car was stolen from on the owner’s home property or a neighbouring street. According to AAMI, thieves are also stealing car keys from homes thanks to the advanced security systems of modern cars.

“Australian motorists seem to have the perception that they can afford to be relaxed about car security once they are in familiar territory at home,” AAMI spokesperson Mike Sopinski said.

Mr Sopinski said that, of the survey respondents who regularly leave their car unlocked, the proportion who do so when parked outside their own home has risen significantly over the last few years – 81 percent today compared to 70 today in 2006

While car theft rates remain low overall (four percent), one in eight respondents (13 percent) said their car had been broken into in the past.

“This is probably not surprising, given that nearly a third of drivers nationally (30 percent) admit they sometimes leave personal possessions, like handbags, sunnies and CDs, easily visible in their car when it’s unattended."

“Combine this with an unlocked vehicle and you might as well put out a welcome mat for opportunistic thieves,” Mr Sopinski said.

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