It’s sobering to think of how many millions of auto theft cases are reported every year. This isn’t just a big-city problem for high-end car owners to worry about; it can happen to anyone, anywhere. Following these ways to protect your car will put the odds in your favor.
Built-in devices. As you compare features and figures when you car shop, include standard and optional anti-theft equipment in your evaluation. From ignition keys with coded electronic chips to integrated telematics systems, they should be prime considerations in your purchase.
Aftermarket devices. You don’t have to give up on your existing car if it wasn’t made with many auto theft prevention features. Consider adding an alarm, vehicle tracking or even simple and visible devices to protect your car. They aren’t all foolproof, but they do deter less industrious thieves. And in the case of vehicle tracking, the systems can lead authorities to your car, and often, a quick recovery.
Park with care. Out-of-the-way parking spaces are great for preventing door dings, but unfortunately they’re great for attracting thieves too. Park in high-visibility, well-lit areas. If you have to leave keys with a valet or parking attendant, leave only a valet key if your car is equipped, without any other keys attached. Leaving the wheels turned sharply while parked can also make it tougher for thieves to tow the car away.
Hide valuables. Protecting your car can begin with protecting your property. It’s no great leap for a break-in to become an auto theft. Don’t entice by leaving electronics or backpacks visible. Even the sight of simple things a charger or audio cord is reason enough for thieves to get curious. If you can help it, avoid moving valuables to the trunk or cargo area while in plain sight, which is basically advertising where you stash them.
Lock up. So simple, yet so often overlooked. Many auto thefts happen not because the targets are exceptionally desirable, but because they’re unlocked—or even worse, the keys are in the ignition. It doesn’t matter if you’re only getting out of the car a few moments. An unattended and unlocked or especially running vehicle takes no time to disappear. Even with the doors locked, leaving your windows and sunroof cracked are invitations for trouble as they increase accessibility.