Few things are as violating as having something stolen from you. Vehicle theft can be especially difficult, because your car is often one of your most valuable possessions. There are some relatively simple steps you can take for car theft prevention, helping you to avoid the unpleasant situation and just enjoy life.
Car Theft Prevention
There are many car theft prevention devices out there, but the most effective is a good garage. Most criminals go for “soft” targets, or vehicles they can access easily and quickly. Only the most determined thieves will try to break into a garage, because it’s more difficult and carries additional risk. While some thefts do happen during the daytime, you should especially park inside a garage at night.
If you have to park outside, choose the location wisely. If you must park in a part of the city with a bad reputation, find a pay lot that’s patrolled, not a place where you pay a machine and no workers are visible. Try to get a spot where plenty of people are walking around, like near the entrance to a building or a public sidewalk. Thieves love to break into vehicles that are in the middle of a large parking lot, or in a back row where nobody is walking around, because they can use tools to get inside without anyone noticing.
Always leave your car in park. If you have a manual transmission, leave it in one of the gears. Also, point the tires toward a nearby curb or other obstacle. If a thief has a tow truck, this will make your vehicle much harder to grab and could attract plenty of attention.
At night, you need to find a spot where there’s plenty of lighting. Again, thieves love to work under the cover of darkness, so taking that option away decreases the likeliness they’ll go after your vehicle.
It’s amazing how many people want to know the best way to prevent car theft, yet they don’t even consistently lock their vehicle. Every time you get out, you should lock the doors. This is true when you’re in a grocery store parking lot and need to return the cart after unloading it. Same goes for parking in the driveway while you run in your house for a few moments. What’s even worse is if you leave the keys in the unlocked car, because taking it is simple.
You should also close the windows and sunroof when parking your car, because that’s just as good as not locking the doors.
Use the VIN
All cars come with a vehicle identification number or VIN on several locations. You can see one easily at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side. Thieves often steal cars and sell them to chop shops, which take the vehicles apart and sell the various components. They know where the VINs are on a car and are good at scratching them out or ditching those parts.
You can make your vehicle look like too much effort by having the VIN etched into the windows or other visible parts. It’s a sign that you’ve probably taken other measures to recover your ride if it’s stolen, likely discouraging criminals from even touching your car.
It might seem like common sense, but plenty of people leave valuable things sitting in plain view. This includes computers, purses, shopping bags, phones, textbooks, sports equipment, etc. Even if a bag doesn’t contain anything of real value, a person walking by doesn’t know that, so it should be stowed where nobody can see it. If you have an SUV or wagon, throw a blanket over the items or get a retractable cargo cover.
Among the best car theft prevention tips is to use a security device. There are plenty to choose from. Some lock onto the steering wheel, making it clear to anyone walking by that you’re serious about stopping thieves. Alarms can be a good option, since they make noise that can attract unwanted attention. Some systems will send a notification to your phone when they go off, which is even better. There are also vehicle trackers, allowing owners and the police to see where a stolen vehicle is taken. While this doesn’t prevent the theft, it could help you get the car back.
One of the most effective theft prevention devices is a kill switch. They cut off the ignition system in a vehicle, making it impossible to start the engine. Some setups require you to insert an extra key into the kill switch before turning the key in the ignition. Others involve simply pressing a button, which you can hide virtually anywhere in the interior. People have come up with clever spots for a kill switch, making the basically impossible for a thief to locate quickly.