You’d think your car would be safe parked in your driveway, but according to new research from RACQ more than one in three cars stolen over the past 12 months were parked at or in front of homes.

RACQ’s 2015 Car Security Index revealed car thefts from driveways has increased to 25.4 per cent, up 3.1 per cent on the 2014 total.

The findings show that 13.4 per cent of cars were stolen from the street in front or adjacent to the owner’s home.

RACQ Insurance Communications Executive Manager, Mike Sopinski told the Courier Mail the thefts were a direct result of thieves targeting car keys in the victim’s home.

“The continuing high rate of theft from driveways is being driven by overall improvements in car security forcing thieves to directly target keys.”

The research found 17.8 per cent of thefts over the past year were also from streets not near the owners’ home, suggesting opportunistic thieves were targeting older, less secure makes and models and cars not secured properly.

Research showed there was also an increase in thieves targeting shopping centre parks with 13.4 per cent of thefts seen over the past 12 months.

“This is concerning as these areas are generally well secured and difficult for car thieves to operate in with video surveillance and monitoring, regular security patrols and with high pedestrian traffic,” Mike says.

Mike says in this day and age it’s important to secure your car keys, even at home.

“A staggering 44.8 per cent of people admit they don’t always secure their car keys while at home,” he says.

“Motorists really need to treat their keys like cash.”

The research also identified other popular spots for car thieves like public car parts (11.3 per cent), bus or rail commuter car parks (7.5 per cent), home garages (6.6 per cent), work car parks (2.8 per cent) and hotel, motel caravan park guest parking (0.9 per cent).