Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about preventing car theft. Taking steps to prevent auto theft will ensure your vehicle isn’t one of the cars stolen every 44 seconds in the United States. Unfortunately, even though about 50% of those vehicles are reunited with their owners, they have often been stripped down for parts or crashed during a joy ride. If you want to stop a criminal from taking off with your car, you need to know how to stop them in their tracks. Here are the top seven ways to prevent auto-theft.
1. Always Lock Your Car
Every time you park your car, even if you’re right in your own driveway, close the windows and lock the doors. This may seem like an obvious step to take, but it’s easy to get lazy about locking up when you’re in a hurry. Don’t be tempted to leave the windows cracked in the summer either. You’re just making it easier (and faster) for a thief to enter your car unnoticed. Always teach new drivers in your household to lock up the vehicle securely every time they park it.
2. Park Strategically
Parking strategically is a brilliant and effective way to prevent auto theft, and it won’t cost you a penny. Choose a well-lit area that’s close to the entrance of the building. If there are security cameras, that’s even better. Many people think that parking in a parking garage is the safest option, but they aren’t actually all that safe. If you must park in a parking garage, park your car as close to the attendant and the security cameras as you can.
3. Never Leave Valuables in Your Car
Leaving valuables in your vehicle is just asking for trouble. Leaving your iPad sitting on the seat of the car is sure to attract attention, and not in a good way! Thieves have even been known to break into cars to steal loose change. Once a thief is tempted to break into your car, he might decide to follow through and steal your car. Putting valuables in the trunk isn’t always the best idea either, because thieves often hang out in parking lots watching for just such an opportunity. If you know you’re going to be away from your car in a public place, consider leaving valuable items at home.
4. Use an Effective Anti-Theft Device
Not only could anti-theft device help to prevent your car from being stolen, but it could also get you a discount on your car insurance. These devices are very effective for deterring thieves because they’re usually looking for easy targets that can be entered quickly and quietly, without attracting attention. Steering wheel locks are ok if that’s all you can afford, but they can be easily defeated with a set of bolt cutters. The best anti-theft device is one that’s equipped with an immobilizer system that stops potential thieves from being able to hotwire your car. Auto theft rates are highest in Texas, California, and Florida, so if you live in one of these states, installing an anti-theft device on your vehicle would be an especially good idea.
5. Consider Utilizing a Tech-Based Auto Recovery Tool
No matter how cautious you are, the worst may still happen. If your car has an auto recovery tool installed, you may be able to recover your car before thieves have time to destroy it. One example of such a system is OnStar. This tool uses GPS technology to locate your vehicle, and then transmits the location to the police so the vehicle can be recovered. This system can also lock your car’s ignition remotely while working in cooperation with police to send a signal to your car that slows it down safely during a pursuit.
6. Never Leave Your Car Running
Many vehicle thefts can be prevented by taking common-sense precautions! Never leave your car running when you’re not in it, even in your own driveway. It’s tempting to let your car warm up on a frigid day, while you wait in your nice warm house. Unfortunately, as many as 1/3 of vehicle thefts occur close to home. Not only does leaving your car running serve as an open invitation for thieves, but it might also be illegal in your state. So, turn your car off any time you’re not behind the steering wheel.
7. Keep All of Your Car Keys in a Safe Place
Many folks like to hide a spare key somewhere on their vehicle, but this could be a huge mistake. Keep all of your car keys in a safe place, even your spares. It’s no different from hiding a spare key to your front door under the matt. Criminals know all about these hiding places, so resist the temptation. While it would be inconvenient to get locked out of your car, having your car stolen and destroyed by thieves would be a lot worse.
Don’t be a potential victim for car thieves. Following these seven tips will make your car a less appealing target and prevent thieves from hitting the road in your vehicle. Best of all, most of these ideas won’t cost a penny to implement!