In the great big book of Things To Never Do, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to habits to avoid if you want to keep your car safe from theft. Okay, there really isn’t such a book or chapter – but if there were, these would be the top five things on that list. You can play a role in reducing your vulnerability to car theft – NHTSA estimates that 40-50% of vehicle theft is due to driver error.
If you want to prevent from having your car stolen or broken into, follow the instructions below. If not, it’s all on you. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
- Never leave your car unlocked. Most of us usually lock our cars out of habit. Especially when parking for long hours in a big city far from home. Unfortunately, we tend to let our guard down when we’re in familiar surroundings and sometimes forget to lock up. Big mistake.
- Don’t keep a spare set of keys in the wheel well. Magnetic key holders are popular because they let you tuck a spare set of keys into odd locations on your vehicle’s body so you’ll never lock yourself out. This is one of the first things car thieves look for, and they’re also well aware of the best hiding places for spare keys.
- Stow your valuables in the trunk. Leaving shopping bags and expensive electronic devices in plain view – even in a locked car – can be a temptation that some thieves won’t be able to pass up. Remember: out of sight, out of mind. Never give a thief any more reason to target your car than they already may have.
- Park in the light. If you can’t park your car in a secure area, always seek out parking spaces that are well lit and therefore far less likely to be hit by thieves. Crooks don’t like to work in the light and this could be all the difference in the world between having your car stolen and having it still be there when you return.
- Get an alarm installed. Although there’s much debate as to whether car alarms are actually a deterrent – think about how often car alarms go off in your neighborhood and how commonplace it is for people to ignore – the fact is that having an anti-theft system installed on your car offers at least one additional level of protection. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have one, use it.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says there’s a car theft every 44 seconds. That boils down to more than 700,000 cars stolen every year – and that’s just in the U.S. alone! If you’d rather keep your car until you decide to part ways with it, stick to the guidelines. If you don’t, you could find yourself making good use of your walking shoes and learning the local bus routes better than you ever hoped you would.
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