While automobile theft has been decreasing over the past few decades, it is still a large problem that is occurring across the U.S. And while it may seem like newer vehicles are equipped with better technology that helps prevent automobile theft, the criminals taking the vehicles are also becoming savvier and have continued to change the ways they take a vehicle and remain undetected. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), these thieves are now manipulating the technology built into smart keys to take the vehicles, and then changing the VIN (vehicle identification numbers) to remain under the radar. Additionally, they note that there is a motor vehicle taken every 40.9 seconds in the U.S., with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports reporting more than 773,000 vehicles taken in 2017. So, what can you do to protect your car and help prevent this from happening to you? Here are a few tips:
Lock All Doors
This may seem like common sense, but at times it can be tempting to leave all or even just one door unlocked while you run in for a quick errand. You should never leave any door of your vehicle unlocked when you are away from it for any amount of time. Simply locking your vehicle’s doors means a potential thief will have to work harder to gain access to your vehicle, which may just make them move on to one that doesn’t have all doors locked.
Don’t Leave Any Keys In Or Around Your Car
This is another one that may seem obvious, but many people still choose to either leave their key in the ignition or to leave a spare key somewhere near the car (such as attaching it underneath the vehicle). Leaving any key behind anywhere in or around the vehicle makes it an easy target for a potential thief as all they need to do is turn on the ignition and drive away. It makes your vehicle an especially good target if the key is left in the vehicle and any of the doors are left unlocked.
Keep All The Windows Up
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends keeping all windows on your vehicle completely rolled up. Leaving even one window just partially down provides a potential thief the opportunity to quickly grab any valuable items that have been left in the car or to stick something thin in the opening of the window and use it to unlock the vehicle’s doors.
Stay Away From Dimly Lit Areas
Leaving your vehicle behind in an area that is not surrounded by a good amount of light makes it much easier for a potential thief to target and get away with your vehicle. When you park in areas that are well-lit, potential thieves then run the risk of being spotted by someone passing by. Thieves like to work in the shadows where they don’t have as much of a risk of being caught in the act.
Don’t Leave Anything Of Value In The Car Alone
Leaving anything of value in your vehicle when you are away from it is a major mistake that makes your vehicle stand out to thieves as a potential target – both for breaking into the car to take your valuables and to take the car. You should never leave things like purses, wallets, house keys, or anything else that may hold significant value in your vehicle when you are not in it. You should also keep these things out of sight even when you are in your vehicle. And never put something of value in the trunk of your car once you have reached your destination as thieves often hide in unseen areas of the parking lot and watch for people to leave something of value in the trunk. In fact, it is best to leave anything of value at home rather than bringing it with you in your vehicle, when possible.