Kimiko Kidd
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Easy Ways to Prevent Car Theft

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Car Break In

Photo: PxHere

According to the National Highway Travel Safety Administration, a vehicle is stolen in the United States every 40.9 seconds. To put that in perspective, over 770,000 vehicles are stolen annually. Don’t let your car become one of them — consider these tips to keep your vehicle safe.

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Common-sense strategies 

person holding car keys key fob take the keys designated driver
Photo: Max Pixel

Thieves like easy targets. Make your car more difficult to steal by keeping the doors locked, both when you drive and when you park. Before you walk away from your car, make sure the windows are rolled up and the sunroof is closed. Never leave your keys in the ignition when you park, even if it’s on your own street or in your own driveway. You should also avoid leaving your car running while you’re away from it, which is easy to remember if you take the keys with you.

Since thieves prefer to work where they can’t be seen, try to park in well-lit, visible areas. Avoid visiting or driving through dangerous areas if you can, even if it means you have to drive a bit further to take a safer route.

It’s also important to realize that thieves can steal your car by towing it away. To make your car more difficult to tow, engage the parking brake before you exit the vehicle. If you park on an incline, turn the steering wheel to angle your tires towards the curb — this simple strategy makes it a pain for thieves to tow your vehicle. You can also park strategically in your driveway. If you drive a front-wheel-drive model, park facing away from the driveway entrance to make your car harder to tow. For rear-wheel-drive models, back your car into the driveway.

Keep important documents and items at home

BMV vehicle registration car title renewal license paperwork
Photo: The News Wheel

Some drivers have a habit of keeping a spare key on the exterior of their vehicle. While this can be convenient if you lock yourself out of your car, thieves know to check common hiding places, such as the wheel well, behind the license plate, inside the bumper, and inside the gas cap door. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted friend or family member, or sign up for a service that allows you to unlock your keys from your phone, or with the help of a remote technician.

Another safety faux pas is leaving your title and registration unsecured in your vehicle. Access to these documents makes it easy for thieves to falsely pass themselves off as the owner of your vehicle. It’s a good idea to keep them in a well-hidden or locked area, instead of an obvious place, like your center console or glove compartment.

Visible deterrents

car alarm key fob battery alert beeping emergency
Photo: The News Wheel

To keep thieves from targeting your car, consider installing a visible deterrent. A steering wheel lock tells potential criminals that your car won’t be an easy target. You can also have a vehicle immobilizer installed, which guards against thieves hot-wiring your car.

And if your vehicle didn’t come equipped with an alarm, you can always have one installed. However, since this can often involve messing with your car’s wiring, it’s best to leave this installation to the pros.

Keep Your Vehicle Safe: Tips for maintaining your car in storage

Want more safety tips? Check out our article on keeping your car safe from break-in attempts.