Car theft is never a nice thing to ever have to experience in life. I remember back when I was 18 years old, I had a small hatchback car which I fitted some speakers to on the rear parcel shelf (it didn’t have any speakers at the back), and one evening I heard my car alarm going off. When I went outside to investigate, I discovered that someone had smashed the rear window with the intention of stealing my speakers, but were obviously caught unawares that my little car had an alarm that woke the whole neighbourhood up! Although the speakers weren’t particularly valuable (I didn’t have the money to be able to afford a “decent” car stereo setup), I was quite badly affected by that incident at the time as I had never experienced anything like it before, and I had quite a sick feeling in my stomach. That aside, I think the other bad thing to come out of that experience was the fact that I had to claim off my insurance for a new rear window, and had to wait for someone to come out and fit it for me (I only had a temporary plastic sheet to protect my car interior from the elements). Image via Flickr But one positive thing I gained from that unfortunate episode of my life is that it made me realise the importance of doing everything I could to minimise the likelihood of my car being broken into. If this is something you are interested in doing too (and you should), then here are some top tips to help stop your car being targeted by thieves. Hide it or lose it! A somewhat dramatic heading I know, but it’s true! From my potential theft experience above, something I learnt to do with any car I drive is to make sure nothing valuable is on show – even if you don’t think the said items are worth very much. Although it is true that gangs of thieves operate and contribute to the UK’s car crime theft statistics, most break-ins are actually caused by opportunist thieves. This is a term used to describe someone who, for example, walks past a car and spies a mobile phone or laptop on the passenger, smashes the window and nicks anything valuable like that. If those items were out of sight (like say in the glove box or boot), then that person will most likely have just carried on walking past your car. Use visual deterrents Most modern cars come with immobilisers and anti-theft systems such as alarms installed as standard, but you can protect your car even further by using using visual deterrents such as Diskloks. An opportunist car thief will not bother stealing a car if it is going to prove too much of a hassle. Get a different car Sell your car Newcastle experts recommend buying a different car if you are driving around in an exotic or highly sought-after expensive car that organised crime gangs are most likely to steal on order and either strip for parts or illegally ship to customers abroad on the black market.