Car theft is still a prevalent problem in the U.S. The FBI reported that 773,000 cars were stolen in 2017 and the Insurance Information Institute claims that a motor vehicle is stolen every 40.9 seconds in the U.S. That’s a lot of cars!
Even as motorists take increasingly sophisticated measures to protect themselves from car theft, some thieves find ways to defeat them.
Here are 8 things that you can do to prevent car theft and reduce your insurance premiums, too.
#1 Lock Your Doors and Close Your Windows
Get into the habit of always locking your car doors and closing your windows when you leave your car. Don’t make it easy for potential car thieves to reach into your car and help themselves.
Also, always keep your doors locked and windows closed when you’re in your car to deter would-be carjackers.
#2 Don’t Leave Your Car Running
We’ve all done it. We back the car out of the garage, leave the engine running, and then rush back inside for something we’ve forgotten. All it takes is an opportunistic thief walking by to drive off in our car. To prevent car theft, you should never leave your car running unattended.
#3 Steering Wheel and Pedal Locks
It didn’t take car thieves long to learn how to overcome the keyless technology that most cars use today. Criminals have ready access to inexpensive electronic devices that can open car doors and start engines. That’s why it’s a good idea to use an old-fashioned steering wheel or pedal lock before you leave your car unattended. Sure, criminals can cut through the lock, but it will slow them down and act as a deterrent.
#4 Don’t Leave Your Keys in the Ignition
A car thief can steal a car in a few seconds and be long gone in the time it takes you to pop into the store for a few minutes. Always take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle to prevent car theft. It only takes a couple of extra seconds to grab your keys, but the stakes of not doing so are high.
#5 Don’t Keep a Spare Key in Your Vehicle
Car thieves know exactly where owners like to hide their spare keys; taped under the car, in a hubcap, or in the glove compartment. No matter how clever your hiding place, the determined thief will find it. Sure, it’s a hassle when you accidentally lock yourself out of your car, but it’s a minor one compared to having car theft happen to you.
#6 Park in Safe Areas
If possible, park on a street that gets a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. If it’s dark out, park under a street light. Car thieves are unlikely to try to steal your car where they can be seen easily.
If you’re parking in a parking lot, park close to the building entrances, security cameras, and attendants.
#7 Install an Alarm, Anti-Theft Device or Immobilizer
The above devices may prevent car theft by scaring off the thief with a loud noise or a visible anti-theft device. Also, an immobilizer will prevent thieves from hotwiring your car if it’s an older model.
Although these devices may cost a bit to buy and install, your insurance company may offer you reduced premiums because of the lower theft risk.
#8 Lock Valuables in the Trunk
Don’t leave valuables like your purse, tablet, or mobile in full view of passersby. Once thieves have broken into your car to steal the valuables on your passenger seat, they may well decide to go the whole hog and steal your car, too.
Either leave your valuables at home or lock them in your trunk before you leave home.
Determined criminals will continue to find ways to steal cars. But if you take some simple car theft prevention measures, the car thief may move onto an easier target.
It’s also worth considering installing a vehicle tracking or recovery device. If the worst happens despite your car theft prevention measures, the police may be able to get your car back before it’s too severely damaged.
If car thieves or smash-and-grabbers have damaged your car, contact Orlando Auto Body at 480-418-4737 for help with any needed autobody repairs.