In 2017, one motor vehicle theft was reported every 40.9 seconds in the US and unlike the fun, it seemed in the ridiculous Gone in 60 Seconds movie – being a victim of this crime is no fun.
Although instances of car theft have gone down considerably, the case for taking proactive action to prevent car theft still holds good primarily because auto thieves are constantly refining their methods for stealing vehicles.
Even if you were to get your car back, chances are the thieves would have stripped it thread bear and sold the parts that can be reused such as the tires, or your music system or any other high-end gadgetry you might have installed.
So, if you are worried about car theft, and you rightly should be, the salient news is that you can take several steps to prevent your car from being stolen. Here are some of the things you can do.
1. Don’t Lose Track of your Car Keys
Many car owners store spare keys in their cars or they are careless about their spare keys. Keeping a track of your car keys is one of the first steps in preventing car theft. It is also best that you avoid giving your car keys to someone permanently – if they don’t have a use for the spare key, take it back.
2. Park in Safe Spaces of Zones Always
Be smart about your parking choices – park your car close to either your home, office or any other building entrance since these areas are usually well-lit and covered by security cameras.
If you park in a garage or parking lot, make sure it is a well-used as opposed to an isolated garage or parking space. Also, it is good practice to park as close to the security attendant or in a spot that is covered by security cameras.
3. Secure your Car after Parking
Make sure you securely lock your car after parking. Ensure all windows, doors, and the trunk is securely locked. Get into the habit of doing this even if you park your car in your own home garage.
Make sure your garage or the driveway are covered by security cameras (if you can afford this or if your car/s are worth serious value or are new vehicles) or motion detectors so any movement can instantly trigger the alarm.
4. Never Leave Your Car Running
If you are not going to drive away immediately, don’t start your car and keep it running. Many drivers keep their car running while they quickly run back inside to grab something they might have forgotten to take along, or to quickly run an errand thinking “it’s only going to take a minute or a few seconds so why turn off the engine!”
Well, a few seconds or less than a minute is all it takes for an opportunistic auto thief to make away with your car.
5. Avoid Keeping Valuables in the Car
Get into the habit of never leaving anything of value inside your car. This means no wallets or purses, no phones (iPhones, tablets) or any other high-value device should be left in the car. Again, even if you are parked in your home garage or driveway, make it point to never leave anything of monetary value in plain sight inside your car.
6. Use Tech-based Anti-theft Devices
- Common anti-theft devices such as steering, hood, or tire locks work fantastically since the vehicle is immobilized.
- Installing a good car alarm system is again a good tech-based anti-theft option – the alarm will go off if anyone tries to forcefully access the car, to either start the car without the keys, or if window glass is smashed, or even if someone simply touches the car.
- However, in addition to physical locks and alarm system, you might want to explore tech-based anti-theft devices such as electronic immobilizers such as radio frequency identification (RFID) to track key fobs that contain RFID chips using an electromagnetic field. If you are driving a 2002 Dodge Ram or Honda Accord – this may not be necessary, for example.
- Another option could be electronic tracking systems that get activated if theft is reported – the company managing the system can coordinate with law enforcement to track a stolen vehicle.
Prevention is indeed better than cure. Consider installing or using anti-theft devices and systems to secure your car in addition to following the steps mentioned above to secure your car against theft. You can also consult with your car technician about anti-theft devices best suited for your car.
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