Law

Don’t Be a Victim: How to Prevent Auto Theft

Auto theft is a growing concern for people across the country as property crime rates continue to rise. While there’s no way to guarantee that your car or truck won’t be stolen, there are things you can do to reduce those risks. Taking action to protect your vehicle and to ensure its return if it is stolen can help you feel safer about leaving your vehicle unattended.

Lock Your Car

The most important step in preventing auto theft is to ensure your vehicle is locked at all times. Even though you may only be leaving your vehicle for a short period of time, a clever thief may only need a few seconds to take off in your vehicle. Keeping your vehicle’s doors locked and windows sealed will make it harder for a thief to gain access to your vehicle.

Some people leave their windows open by an inch in the summer, but this may be all the space a car thief needs to gain entry. Using something as simple as a wire coat hanger, a thief can unlock the door without much effort.

If you’re concerned about heat damage, park in a shaded area. Above all, you should make sure all of the vehicle’s windows are up and securely closed. Check the doors to ensure they are all locked as well.

Park in a Safe Place

When parking your vehicle, you should make an extra effort to park in a safer area. Especially if you’re planning to leave the vehicle unattended overnight, you should ensure you park in an area that’s well lit. Look for street lamps or overhead lighting in parking garages.

Whenever possible, avoid parking overnight on a surface street. Instead, it may be worth the fee to park in an enclosed lot or garage. If your home has a garage, park the vehicle inside and secure access points to the garage.

When you park in a public lot or garage, avoid parking in the back of the lot. It’s better to risk an accidental scrape by parking with the other vehicles than to create an isolated target that makes it easier for car thieves to work without interruptions.

Use Anti-Theft Technology

Most car thieves will watch out for vehicles equipped with alarms and other types of anti-theft devices. They would rather take vehicles that aren’t equipped with this type of technology. Installing a car alarm will make it harder for a thief to take your vehicle unnoticed.

You should also install a GPS tracking system. If your vehicle is stolen, GPS tracking technology can help authorities locate your vehicle sooner. This increases the chances that you’ll get your car back in good condition.

Reduce Temptation

Auto theft includes breaking into a vehicle and taking items stored inside it. For this reason, you should remove anything of value from inside the vehicle. Keep tools locked in your trunk or hidden in your glove compartment. If you have a custom installed car stereo with a removable face, be sure to take the face will you to minimize the risks of a break-in.

You should also ensure your tires and hub caps are protected with a locking mechanism. It’s a wise precaution to assume that anything that can be removed from your vehicle will make a tempting target for theft or vandalism. Take basic steps to protect those items so thieves will pass your vehicle by.

Keep Track of Your Keys

While Hollywood portrays car theft as involving the hot-wiring of vehicles, that’s rarely how auto theft is accomplished in the real world. Most of the time, a thief will watch for you to leave your keys in an accessible area.

Avoid leaving your car keys in the ignition. Even though you may just be running to the ATM for a couple of minutes, that’s all the time a car thief needs to hop in and drive off. Additionally, avoid leaving spare keys outdoors where a thief can find them. Keep your car keys with you at all times or ensure they are locked in a secure place.

Some changes, such as  installing an alarm, can help you pay less for car insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about other measures you can take to protect your vehicle and get a bigger discount on your coverage premiums. Making more changes can help you reduce risks of vandalism as well as help you protect against auto theft.

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