That gut wrenching feeling that comes with walking up to your car, only to realize that all the windows have been smashed, leaving behind shards of shattered glass both inside and outside your vehicle, your belongings have been stolen and your car is left looking more than a little worse for wear. The worst of it is, the break-in was most likely preventable. In the United States a car is stolen every 43 seconds, which is close to a million vehicles per year. Here are 4 precautions you can take to help make your car less appealing to potential thieves.
Anything that could potentially hold your valuables needs to be out of site when you leave your vehicle. Whether that’s making sure to unplug your iPod to put it in the glove box or tucking a seemingly low-risk item such as a grocery bag under the passenger seat. Thieves won’t usually run the risk of breaking into a vehicle that doesn’t have something inside to tempt them. They are looking for a quick steal, so if they can’t see anything obvious to grab and run with, it’s unlikely they’ll bother taking the extra time searching for it. Also, be careful not to put your valuables on display to others while you are hiding them.
This may seem like the obvious way to deter thieves but according to some law enforcement agencies, up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars. We tend to get caught out on those occasions when we feel that we’ll be too quick for anything bad to happen. Unfortunately, these are the exact situations that thieves are waiting for and they’re quick to act, knowing they only have a limited time. Simply locking the doors could deter thieves who may just be waiting around for an easy target.
Leaving your window open even a small crack is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. On hot days, most people want to leave their car windows open a little to let some air in but this is an utter dream for thieves. If there is enough room to get their fingers through, they can get the window out of its track, allowing for their whole arm to get inside, at which point it becomes as good as an unlocked car. If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, open windows can also disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving your vehicle more vulnerable to a break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds.
Thieves want to keep a low profile and will generally avoid cars if they can see that it’s alarmed. If you don’t already have an alarm system, be sure to get one. The noise alone may be enough to scare away inexperienced thieves and prevent future break-ins. Some companies even offer inexpensive products that only make it look like your car has an alarm, which could also help prevent a vehicle break-in.
So next time you catch yourself about to run into the shops without locking your doors or winding up your windows all the way, think again whether its worth it. Take what precautions you can to keep your valuables safe and deter any potential thieves that may be lingering just around the corner.