It is estimated that in the United States, a car is stolen every 19 seconds. This makes it about 17 million stolen cars a year which costs Americans billions of dollars. Experienced car thieves can steal a car in less than 7 seconds and drive it away in under a minute. Some car thieves are only interested in car parts and accessories as they can make 3 times more money for disassembled parts than compared to the entire car. In any case, smart car owners know of following important ways to prevent their car from being stolen or broken into:
1. Choose a safe location for parking always
Car thieves usually go unnoticed in large parking facilities found in malls, urban areas or having access to the freeways. So try and avoid parking in areas with several pedestrian access points, little or no perimeter control, poor lighting and surveillance. Also avoid parking near schools where juvenile crimes rates and vandalism is high. Here are good places to park:
- Well lit areas
- In a locked garage
- Non secluded areas
- Areas with surveillance
- Closer to mall entrances with security guards/cabins/cameras
- In the driveway with the front wheels facing the street so that it is difficult for the thief to tinker with the car in full view of passersby.
2. Use car theft prevention devices
If you have to leave your car unattended for extended periods of time such as at night and especially in warmer weather when car thieves are most active, then you must use car theft prevention devices. A simple, inexpensive anti theft car security device is the steering wheel to pedal lock. Use this if you live in an area having high car crime rate. Other car theft prevention devices include:
- Audible alarms
- Steering column collars
- Brake or wheel locks
- Tire lock deflators
- Theft deterrent decals
- Window etching
- Identification markers in or on vehicle
- Laminated glass
3. Use immobilizing devices
Car thieves can hotwire a car to bypass the car’s ignition. You can prevent this with the use of best car theft protection methods like smart keys, fuse cutoffs, switches and fuel disablers.
4. Don’t leave keys in car
The simplest among vehicle theft protection tips is to avoid leaving keys behind. Believe it or not, 20% of cars are stolen in this way. When you walk away after parking the car, check a few times to ensure that you have the keys in your purse/pocket, each door is locked, all windows are closed and that there is no expensive stuff in plain sight.
5. Avoid keeping expensive stuff in sight
This is sure to attract car thieves. Never keep laptops, tablets or other expensive stuff in the car even if you have to leave the car for a few minutes. If you have no choice, then it is best to leave valuables in the boot or locked away in the glove compartment. Make sure all valuables are out of sight always. This is important to avoid keyless car theft.
6. Make it difficult to tow the vehicle away
When parking your vehicle, keep the front wheels turned sharply to the left or right with hand brake on. This will deter thieves from towing the vehicle away.
7. Never leave the motor running while you step out to run errands
Even if it is for a minute, never leave the motor running while you aren’t in the vehicle. Make sure you park the car, close all windows and take the keys with you after locking it.
8. Never leave important documents in the car
Some state laws require you to leave the registration and insurance papers in the vehicle. If this is the case, you have no choice. However, if this is not mandatory, avoid doing so since thieves can steal the documents and impersonate you.
9. Deter car thieves with stickers
You need not tell exactly what car break in prevention system you have installed. A general sticker mentioning “this car has the best car theft protection system” is adequate and can warn thieves away.
10. Keep the car locked even inside the garage
Do not think even for a second that keeping the car unlocked inside a garage will keep your car safe just because the garage door is locked. Also avoid keeping the garage door opener in the car since, if the car is stolen, thieves will get access to your home.
11. Avoid keeping spare keys in the car
Most car thieves know where to look for spare keys in ‘secret’ areas. Always keep the spare at home or in your purse or office.
12. Stay alert
This is common sense. Stay alert to people and vehicles around you especially when stopped at intersections.
13. Never leave your keys with attendants or parking valets
No matter how safe it might seem; never leave your car keys with the parking attendants.
Use these 13 ways to prevent car theft. Here’s how you get dents out of your car if it has been damaged by car thieves.