10 Measures You Can Take to Prevent Car Theft
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that every 44 seconds, a vehicle in the United States is stolen. Although 50 percent of those vehicles are recovered, by the time they are returned, the damage is already done. The first measure you can take to prevent your car from being stolen is to keep it looking clean and in good condition. While this may seem antithetical, as one would think car thieves might prefer to steal cars in the best looking shape, those cars also tend to have more security measures in place, like car alarms and GPS trackers. Car thieves are more inclined to skip a car they may have trouble getting away with and opt for one instead that looks like an easy steal. Below are 10 more measures you can take on top of that to help keep your car safe from would-be thieves.
Keep Track of Your Car Keys
Many drivers keep a spare car key under their hood or wheel-well. Thieves are aware of the common hiding places for spare keys, and it is easy for them to make a quick search around your car to find them. Also make sure to take your keys with you, even if you are just running into the store or your house for just a second. If a car thief spots such an easy target, they can hop into your car and drive away before you have time to react.
Lock Your Car
Your first line of defense against car thieves is your door locks. Make sure that every door is locked every time you leave your car. A car thief will always look for the easiest car to steal with the quickest chance of escape. Now that most door locks are not visible from outside the vehicle, in terms of being able to tell when one is or is not engaged, most car thieves will simply try opening doors by their handles before taking any more advanced or invasive tactics. An unlocked car always makes an easier target than a locked one.
Park in a Garage
Even better than just locking your car is locking it in a garage. If the garage is private, all the better, but even public garages tend to be safer than parking on the street because they provide less exposure from thieves. When you park in a garage, whether public or private, still be sure to lock your car. You will provide double protection from breaking and entering this way.
Do Not Leave a Car Running
When a car is running and no one is in it, it can be an invitation to thieves. If you leave your car running, someone could break in and drive off with it before you return. Never leave your car when it is running, even for just a quick minute. Any time you leave your car, shut it off and lock it.
Never leave valuables in your car, especially not in plain view. Valuables visible from outside the car will only act as an added incentive and enticement to thieves to choose your car over any others to break into and steal. Leaving valuables hidden in the glove box or trunk is also unwise.
If you cannot park in a private garage, park in a well-lit area near a street or sidewalk or a busy entryway, passageway or hub of activity, like an elevator or ATM. Car thieves will always seek out those targets most obscured from general view.
Install an Anti-Theft Device
Just the sight of an anti-theft device in a vehicle is enough to make most thieves walk on to seek an easier target. This also accounts for the discouragement a set off anti-theft device gives to a thief attempting to steal a vehicle. Additionally, you may also get a discount on your auto insurance rates for installing one.
Install a Vehicle Recovery System
All the measures described so far for preventing car theft aim to protect your car from being stolen in the first place. A vehicle recovery system, however, can be used to help you locate your vehicle after it has already been stolen. Combined with a solid theft prevention system comprised of all the above measures, this additional element can ensure that your car is never far from your possession for long.
Install the Club
The Club is an anti-theft device that locks to your steering wheel and keeps it in place, preventing the car from being drivable. Most car thieves will notice a Club on a car’s steering wheel before they try breaking into the vehicle and, upon seeing one, will not bother trying.
Roll Up Your Windows
You may think having your windows down just a sliver is harmless. However, experiences car thieves have the tools and experience to use that sliver to their advantage. They are able to roll the window down with various tools and easily gain access to your vehicle. When you leave your vehicle unattended, make sure the windows are rolled up completely.