It’s every car owner’s worst nightmare — you leave your house in the morning or your office after work, and your car is missing. In addition to dealing with the police, you have to call an Uber to get home. Instead of hoping that the police can find your car and get it back to you, how can you prevent your car from getting stolen in the first place?
1. Lock the Doors
This tip might seem like common sense, but since common sense is rare enough to be considered a superpower, it bears repeating. In St. Charles, Illinois, alone, more than 92% of car thefts and burglaries happened because people left their cars unlocked. Most car thefts are crimes of opportunity. Unless you’re driving a rare or unique vehicle, thieves are generally going to ignore your automobile if they can’t get into it easily and quickly.
It’s as simple as that — lock your doors. That’s the easiest thing you can do to prevent car theft, but it isn’t the only step you can take to ensure that your vehicle will be where you left it when you return.
2. Stow Your Valuables
It’s tempting to think that because you’ve locked your doors, your valuables are safe when you leave them in your car. However, if you place them in plain sight, you’re creating a target for thieves who have no compunctions about busting your window to make off with your wallet, phone, laptop or whatever else you’ve left behind.
If you have to leave your valuables in your car, stow them in your trunk or glove compartment before you arrive at your destination. Don’t put them in plain sight, or you turn yourself into a target.
3. Park It in The Garage
Parking your car in the driveway or on the street makes it a tempting target for opportunistic thieves, especially if you leave it unlocked. One of the best ways to protect your vehicle is to park it in a secure garage. Your automobile won’t be sitting out in the open, and you’re less likely to worry about having it stolen.
Unfortunately, just closing the garage door isn’t enough to keep it secure, especially if savvy thieves have the tools to hijack your garage door opener’s remote signal. Consider installing an alarm system that includes your garage door. When surveyed, 83% of convicted thieves said they try to figure out if a house they’re considering breaking into has an alarm — and if it does, 60% will move on to a different target.
4. Protect Your Keys
Even if you lock your car doors, it doesn’t do any good if you lose your keys. Be mindful of where you store them. If you have a new set of wheels that doesn’t use a physical key, you might be at even higher risk. Tech-savvy car thieves have figured out how to clone key fob signals, allowing them to open your door and drive away without needing to steal your keys or wait for you to drop them somewhere.
If you live in an area that’s prone to car theft, consider investing in an RFID-blocking pouch or container to store your key fob when you’re not using it. Don’t make it any easier for thieves to steal your car than it needs to be.
5. Stay in the Light
Parking in dark corners or empty streets is only a good idea if you need to add some drama to a movie scene. If you’re looking for somewhere to safely park your car at night, stick to well-lit and heavily trafficked areas. Light, cameras or people — anything that brings attention to your automobile and its surroundings — will discourage thieves.
Car robbers usually look for a particular set of circumstances when they target a vehicle. Parking in the dark is like wearing a meat suit and hanging out with a pack of wolves. Eventually, someone is going to take a bite.
An Ounce of Prevention
You know how they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? In this case, an ounce of prevention can save you a lot of time and hassle. Lock your doors, be smart about where you park and keep your ride in a secure garage. These are easy steps that can keep your car where it belongs and out of the hands of thieves.