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Vehicle thefts have been rising in many parts of the U.S. in the last few years, especially in cities like Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. A major reason for this disturbing trend is something entirely avoidable: people don’t take the necessary precautions to safeguard their vehicles. Here’s how you can prevent car theft in five easy steps.
1. Mind Where You Park
Choosing the right parking spots will drastically reduce your chances of getting robbed. It will also help you avoid dents and scratches from other vehicles. Here are the most important qualities of a good parking spot:
- Strong overhead lighting
- Well-tended pavement and parking lines
- Surveillance cameras or security team nearby
- Nearby streets are busy with pedestrians (witnesses)
In most cases, you can immediately tell if a parking space is sketchy or not. Listen to your intuition and look for another spot if you’re not sure about the lot’s safety. If a parking garage is available for an affordable price, consider getting a parking pass.
2. Create a Checklist
As we alluded to in the introduction, many car thefts occur because of people’s negligence. They simply forget to lock the doors or close the windows, making their cars easy targets. You can’t afford to be this reckless with something as valuable as a vehicle. Avoid these mistakes by writing a simple checklist and putting it on your dashboard.
Your checklist might look something like this:
- Make sure windows are fully closed
- Activate the emergency brake
- Grab all valuable items
- Lock the car and check door handles
These steps should be self-explanatory, but everyone forgets to do them sometimes. A thief only needs you to make one mistake. Leave nothing to chance and create a checklist as a helpful reminder.
3. Bolster Your Car With Security Devices
If you’re uncertain about your neighborhood’s safety, car security devices would be worthwhile investments. Here are some inexpensive theft protection tools you should add to bolster your alarm system:
- Steering wheel lock
- Brake/clutch lock
- Wheel clamp
- Fuse cutoffs
- Ignition disablers
- Aftermarket alarm systems
- GPS tracking device
If your car has a four-digit access code, use it. Put up as many lines of defense as you can to prevent car theft and keep your vehicle stationary.
4. Detail Your Car
Dirty, unkempt vehicles are a thief’s favorite target. They’re likely full of junk and the owner is irresponsible, so the chance of getting caught is slim. On the other hand, clean, organized vehicles demonstrate the opposite. They show that you’re a responsible and attentive owner who knows all of the threats to your vehicle.
You need to detail your car inside and out to prevent car theft. Keep the exterior clean and shiny and make sure the interior stays organized. A clean car also makes it easier for law enforcement to spot fingerprints if a suspect tries to break in. Or, you can report your findings to the police if you notice the fingerprints first.
5. Hide or Remove Your Valuables
Sometimes car thefts occur randomly when a person walks by a vehicle and notices something valuable inside. Maybe they had no previous intention of stealing the car, but the objects inside caught their attention. That’s why you should never keep your phone, wallet, electronics and other expensive items in the car when you’re not around. Take them inside where they’ll be safe.
Only keep the essential items – owner’s manual, registration information, jumper cables and other tools – in the car and hide them as best you can. If a thief manages to get inside, they’ll realize you have nothing of interest and might give up before damaging your vehicle even further.
Upgrade Your Car’s Security
You can’t prevent car theft 100% of the time, but these five simple steps will ward off a vast majority of potential thieves. Your car is one of your most valuable assets, and you must treat it as such. Upgrade its security both inside and out to ensure its continued safety.