Your automobile is probably one of your most valuable possessions. It’s also a target for thieves. An unsecured vehicle full of valuables is a prime target for criminals. That’s why you need to take steps to prevent vandalism and theft. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, over 770,000 cars are stolen every year. That’s over 2,100 cars a day.
The best deterrent for car theft is common sense. Even something as simple as window tinting can prevent people from peering into your car and scoping for items that could be stolen. That said, you also need to be on the lookout for tech-savvy thieves. While many cars today come equipped with theft prevention technology, criminals have circumvented these security measures by using high-tech tools and techniques.
Preventive measures not only lower your risk of theft, but they could also save you some money. Some insurance companies offer lower premiums if you’ve invested in security features. Here are a few things you can do to improve your car’s safety.
1. Hide your keys
Your car won’t go anywhere without the keys, which is why it’s usually the first thing that thieves look for. Make it a point to bring the car keys with you. It may sound like a no-brainer, but many drivers routinely leave their car unlocked when making a quick stop. If you leave your key in the ignition, anyone can easily drive away with your car. You shouldn’t keep spares inside the vehicle as well. Car thieves are familiar with all the common hiding places, so you need to assume that your car will be compromised.
You also need to store your keys in a secure location once you’re home. Many of us tend to hang them on a hook or place them in a bowl the moment we walk in the door. However, some car thieves may break into your house just to get the keys. If possible, put it on your bedside table or a safe.
2. Don’t store valuables
Even if you’ve secured your car, any common criminal can smash the windows and take off with your valuables. Keep belongings to a minimum and bring any valuables with you every time you leave the car. That includes your wallet, mobile phone, and handbag.
If you have expensive gear with you (e.g. cameras, computers), place it on the front seat or lock it in the trunk. Never place bags in the backseat, as some criminals wait until you’re stuck at a red light before stealing your gear.
Many drivers keep their car’s registration and other important in the glove compartment. If the compartment doesn’t come with a lock, you may need to buy a third-party lock to keep it secure. Another alternative is to get a small safe that can fit in the glove compartment.
3. Beef up your security
An alarm system is one of your car’s security measures to deter theft and vandalism. If anyone tries to access your vehicle, an alarm should go off and alert everyone in the vicinity. Some of the newer car models also have extra security features such as motion detectors, cameras, and notification systems.
Alarm systems only became a standard feature in recent decades, so if you have a classic or vintage car, you will need to buy an aftermarket system. Older cars are particularly susceptible to theft since they’re more valuable than most modern cars but lack security features that are standard today such as wireless entry, GPS trackers, and immobilizers.
4. Buy a wheel lock
If you can’t afford an aftermarket alarm system, your next best alternative is to buy a steering wheel lock. It’s cheap, easy to install, and is an effective deterrent. You can get a basic lock for thirty to forty dollars, and advanced models with high-tech features can run into the low thousands.
You’ll need to fit the lock every time you park the vehicle. It’s basically a piece of metal that locks the steering wheel in place. You won’t be able to move the steering wheel until you remove the lock. Some lock models come in bright colors to discourage potential thieves from breaking into your car.
A final word
These four tips will help you secure your vehicle against theft and vandalism. You can reduce your risk by taking a few precautions. For instance, you shouldn’t park in secluded or poorly lit areas. If you need to go somewhere, even for just a few minutes, make sure to bring the key with you.