Just as with home burglary, those looking to commit a car break-in are looking for easy marks. Unlocked cars, cars with valuable items, and cars parked in dark areas all offer great opportunities for criminals. Learn how to reduce these opportunities and prevent a break-in by considering these tips.
1. Lock Up
Up to 25 percent of car burglaries involve unlocked cars. An efficient thief can enter your car and empty the valued contents within a minute—and even take your car too. Lock your door even if you are only stopping for a few minutes.
2. Hide the Valuables
If you leave a smart phone or tablet on your front seat, you might as well leave the doors unlocked. Keeping valuables in sight attracts thieves—and inspires them to further search your vehicle for more. Put valuables in the trunk or take them with you. Never leave them where anyone can see them. Never leave a garage door opener in plain sight in your car, especially if you park your car in your driveway.
3. Stash Items Before You Park
Thieves will also watch motorists after they park and take interest in those who are moving items in the trunk. A thief who sees this knows you have something to hide and will likely break-in later. Store items in your trunk before you change destination.
4. Close Windows Completely
Even if the window is only open a crack, it allows another opportunity for easy break-in. Hooking devices can reach into cars and disengage locks or the thief can force the window down further, and reach in to unlock. It is tempting to crack windows on hot summer days but it also leaves your car vulnerable. Endure the hot car instead of an insurance claim.
5. Park in Busy High-Visibility Places
Fences, foliage, and larger vehicles make great hiding places for thieves. So are dark places. Park your car in areas with high foot traffic where people are constantly arriving and leaving. Only the most brazen thieves would take a risk on your car in these places.
6. Employ Multiple Defenses
Invest in a car alarm if you live in one of the hot spots for vehicle theft (it will reduce your insurance rates too). Also consider layering multiple defenses. Tracking systems, like LoJack, can help recover your car if the break-in elevates to auto theft. Immobilizers also help. Consider adding less-expensive items too like steering wheel or brake pedal locks. Putting all these prevention measures together? Your car becomes nearly break-in proof because no one is going to want to make an effort to get through these items. If the thief decides to proceed anyway, those efforts are not likely to get far before the delay leads to attention and arrest.
While you may not deter the most determined and professional of thieves, you can at least reduce the chances of losing your property. Preventing a break-in is often a matter of awareness and taking extra steps that do not require much time. Make the effort today and you will likely avoid becoming a crime victim.