Auto theft is a preventable crime that affects owners, insurance companies and lenders. It’s a fact that car theft raises insurance rates for everyone. Simple anti-theft devices and basic precautions will help you keep your car where you parked it.
According to Progressive Auto Insurance, there are 3 primary reasons cars are stolen:
- 55% were unlocked
- 34% left the windows open
- 6% left keys in the car
The majority of auto thefts aren’t professional jobs committed by thieves with “gone in 60 seconds” skills. In fact, most thefts are opportunistic and entirely preventable. With that in mind, here are ten steps you should take:
Always Keep Your Car Locked
When you walk away from your car, lock it. This means also roll-up the windows. Such ventilation is an invitation for thieves. I lock my car even when it’s in the garage. You just never know, and the more difficult you make it for a thief, the better your chances of keeping your car “yours”.
Avoid Hiding a Key on the Vehicle
This might seem to be pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed how often people hide keys in or on their car. Don’t do it. Car thieves are criminals, but they’re not stupid. They know the typical, and not so typical, hiding places.
Never Ever Tempt a Car Thief
By this I mean keep all of your valuables out of sight. Cameras, laptop computers, purses, wallets and packages are all encouraging for a would-be thief. Cover your valuables with a coat or blanket, or put them in the trunk.
Make Stealing Your Car Difficult
This is easy to do with a mechanical theft deterrent. You’ve seen them, it’s called The Club. This well-known security bar locks in place and prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
This won’t stop a professional who really wants your car, but it will slow them down. The Club, and other devices like it, can be defeated with a hacksaw by cutting the steering wheel.
Use an Alarm that Disables the Vehicle
Buy an aftermarket alarm and have it professionally installed. There are many types of electronic car alarms, as well as other quality electronic deterrents.
The best alarm is one that will disable the car from being started. Very few people pay much attention to alarm sirens anymore; they are simply an annoyance.
Always, Always Keep Your Car Visible
Pay attention to where you’ve parked. Always park your car in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Don’t risk leaving your car in high-crime areas. Likewise, avoid parking in places that aren’t well-traveled.
Car thieves look for cars in dark alleys and deserted parking lots. The safest parking lots are those with attendants.
Making Your Car Difficult to Tow
Avoid parking where your car can easily be towed. Car thieves often disguise themselves as tow truck drivers. If you park your car at the end of a block, you’re an easy target. I know, I had my first Porsche stolen via tow truck. I had every safety device available on the car. They did a snatch-n-go and were gone in less than 3 minutes.
Shut Your Car Off & Take the Keys
Never leave your car running unless you are sitting in the driver’s seat. Many thefts occur at gas stations because owners leave their cars running while they run inside for directions. It can even happen in front of your own home, while you’re waiting for the car to warm on a cold day. When you get out of your car, take your keys with you.
Protect Your Name and Address
Do not leave information about you or where you live in your car for a thief-in-disguise to see. If you valet park your car, or have the car worked on at a service center, be sure to take your registration with you or lock it in the glove box.
Also, if your car comes with a valet key, give this key to the valet or service station, not your regular ignition key. Likewise, don’t put your address or your car’s license plate number on your keys. If you lose your keys, a thief knows where to pick up their new car.
Keep Original Car Registration & Insurance Documents Safe
Never leave your insurance or original registration documents in your car. Doing so makes it easier for a thief to sell your car after they steal it. I recommend making a copy of your registration papers. Write across the top and bottom of the copy “ORIGINAL MAINTAINED BY LEGAL OWNER”.
Don’t be a victim by following the above tips. You will drastically reduce the chances of your car being stolen.
Also check out the best ways to prepare your vehicle to be sold!