Tips to Prevent Auto Theft
According to the FBI, a motor vehicle is stolen every 46 seconds in the United States. This equates to 689,527 vehicle thefts and $4.5 billion in value stolen each year. Luckily, you can easily protect yourself against vehicle theft by purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of vehicle theft, theft of valuables inside your automobile and carjacking.
However, even with comprehensive insurance, the theft of a vehicle can be a traumatizing ordeal. Although there is no fool-proof way to prevent theft of any kind, there are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of vehicle theft, theft of valuables in your automobile, and carjacking.
Preventing Theft of an Unattended Vehicle
It is important to remain vigilant about deterring theft regardless of where your car is parked. 20% of car thefts occur in parking lots, while over 33% happen near the owner’s residence. Here are a few steps you can take any time you park your vehicle to make it less desirable to thieves:
Lock all doors and leave windows up. Leaving a door unlocked or a window down makes theft easier for criminals, and thus more likely.
Never leave keys in your vehicle. Whether you are leaving the car running or stashing a spare key, having a key in your vehicle makes it more desirable to thieves.
Park in busy areas with plenty of lighting. Thieves don’t want to get caught, so well-populated areas are less attractive to them.
Consider installing anti-theft devices such as an alarm and an immobilization system. These systems can deter theft and could give you a discount on your insurance policy.
As always, use your common sense and report any suspicious activity to the police.
Preventing the Theft of Valuables from Your Vehicle
Not all thieves are interested in taking vehicles. Some criminals target valuables left in vehicles instead. Items that are commonly stolen from cars include smart phones and other electronics, credit cards, work tools, stereos, cash, and garage door openers.
The easiest way to avoid this type of theft is to leave valuable items out of sight. It’s best to take these items with you when you leave your car. However, if you must leave them in your vehicle, keep them hidden. Following the tips as previously mentioned may also help prevent the theft of valuables.
While all types of theft are intrusive, the most terrifying type of auto theft is carjacking. Carjacking is the forceful taking of a vehicle by threatening the owner’s safety. According to the latest statistics, carjacking amounts to 3% of vehicle theft.
Although the chances of being a victim of carjacking are slim, it’s important to take actions to reduce that risk further:
•Approach your car with your keys in hand, ready to enter the vehicle.
•Look in and around your vehicle before getting in.
•Again, park in well-populated areas with good lighting.
•Keep your doors locked while driving. This helps prevent carjacking at stoplights.
•Avoid areas of town that are known to be unsafe.
•Most importantly, give up your car if you are confronted by a thief. Your health and safety are more valuable than your vehicle. Remember, insurance can replace cars but not people.