Car break-ins are on the rise. Most drivers treat their cars like a second home, making them a prime target. From spare change to laptops, there’s usually something of value inside a person’s vehicle. To make matters worse, it only takes a few seconds to break into a car. While the majority of people take precautions to protect their homes from burglars, they often forget to safeguard their vehicles. Here are a few ways to make a car less appealing to thieves:
- Lock the Doors
Vehicle break-ins can happen anywhere, from a person’s driveway to a store parking lot. However, the risk increases tremendously if someone leaves their car doors unlocked. Drivers should make sure to lock the doors whenever exiting their vehicle, even if they walk away for only a few minutes. What if the owner loses their keys? Misplacing keys happens. Luckily, a skilled locksmith can re-key any type of vehicle. Action Lock Doc has options to help drivers get a new set quickly.
- Close the Windows
Many drivers like to open the windows or sunroof on a hot day. However, car thieves keep their eyes peeled for unrolled windows and open sunroofs. They can easily squeeze inside to steal anything of value. Even cracking a window a few inches gives a thief enough room to reach in and unlock the door. Double-check that the windows and sunroof are closed fully before walking away from a vehicle.
- Hide Any Valuables
Car thieves are more likely to break a window if they see something of value inside a vehicle. Drivers who leave laptops, phones, stereos, purses, or shopping bags in plain view are more likely to become victims. A thief may even break inside to collect spare change out of the cupholder. Remember to remove any belongings after parking a car. At the very least, hide any valuable items out of sight under the seats, in the glove box, or inside the trunk.
- Look for Well-Lit Parking
Thieves prefer to hide in darkness because it reduces the risk of being caught. They’ll typically seek out vehicles in dark locations versus those in a well-lit environment. Choose parking spots under streetlamps. Cars parked on a busy street are also less desirable to thieves. Many houses have dark driveways. Installing a motion sensing light is an easy way to protect a vehicle at home.
- Choose Busy Parking Lots
The goal of a car thief is to get in and out without being noticed. They often target areas with less traffic, including empty parking lots. Thieves will even look around to make sure the parking lot doesn’t have any surveillance cameras or security guards. When searching for a place to park, try to find an area with a lot of vehicles and plenty of pedestrian traffic. Busier is always safer when it comes to selecting a parking lot.
- Stay on High Alert
Everyone gets a feeling that something isn’t right at times. Don’t ignore this internal warning. Gut instincts are usually right. Thieves often loiter around shopping center parking lots looking for unsuspecting targets. Once they locate a vehicle, it takes less than a minute to break inside and steal a person’s belongings. If a person in a parking lot looks or acts suspiciously, alert security and find another place to park.
- Install a Car Alarm
There’s nothing more annoying than a car alarm that keeps going off in the middle of the night. A sounding alarm can awake an entire neighborhood in seconds. It is also a huge deterrent for car thieves. After all, a thief doesn’t want to create any commotion that may draw attention. Ignition cut-off systems, steering wheel locks, and loud car alarms all prevent vehicle theft. Installing at least one anti-theft device will make a car less appealing to burglars.
- Avoid High-Crime Destinations
Criminals tend to congregate in the same areas. That’s why it’s wise to investigate a travel destination before getting behind the wheel. Plan a route that avoids any questionable parts of town. Drivers should steer clear of shady gas stations, and it’s always a good idea to keep a fully charged mobile phone on hand. Unsure which areas are dangerous? Consider using a GPS for guidance. The latest GPS apps feature new technology that helps guide drivers away from high-crime neighborhoods.
- Skip Flashy Accessories
Burglars seek out vehicles with flashy, expensive accessories. There is a huge black market for rims, stereos, spare tires, and even hood ornaments. However, there are a few ways drivers can make these accessories less attractive to thieves. When installing aftermarket rims, be sure to protect them with locking lug nuts. Removing the faceplate from a car stereo makes it worthless to criminals. Make sure to secure an exposed spare tire with a thick chain to prevent theft. Criminals can yank a hood ornament off a car in just a few seconds, leaving behind a trail of damage. It may be best to avoid hood ornaments altogether.
- Rethink Cloth Tops
Cloth tops are commonly found on Jeeps and convertibles. They give cars a classic appearance and are more affordable to manufacture. Many luxury vehicle brands opt for cloth tops to save money. However, cloth tops are also desirable to criminals. Even if the driver locks the doors and closes all the windows, a thief can break inside a cloth top with just a sharp knife. The entire process is fast and practically noiseless. When purchasing a Jeep or convertible, look for models with hardtop roofs instead. Besides, hardtops provide more protection in the event of a rollover accident.
Keep Car Thieves Away for Good
Criminals want to get in and out of a car in a hurry without anyone noticing them. That’s why they take the time to scout out potential victims. It’s possible to prevent car break-ins with a few simple steps. From remembering to always lock the doors to rethinking expensive accessories, there are simple things drivers can do to make their car less appealing to would-be thieves. Implementing one of the above tips may be the reason a criminal decides to leave your vehicle alone.