Keep your car and valuables safe with these 9 tips
The FBI reports that $7.4 billion was lost due to motor vehicle theft in 2020.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, thieves are getting increasingly savvy, using smart keys to steal cars and switching vehicle identification numbers to avoid detection.
It’s also alarming that between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2018, there were 229,339 thefts of vehicles with keys and fobs left inside.
Follow the tips below to help safeguard your car and valuables:
1. LOCK YOUR DOORS AND CLOSE YOUR WINDOWS
Keeping your doors locked and the windows closed is the first step in deterring a thief.
2. REMOVE YOUR KEYS FROM THE VEHICLE
Never leave your keys in the ignition, says the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). If your key is in the ignition, a thief can simply break a window and drive off.
3. DON’T LEAVE YOUR CAR RUNNING
It can be tempting to leave your car running when you're just popping in and out of the store, but this makes it easy for a thief to hop in and drive away, points out Firestone Complete Auto Care. It's illegal to leave your car running and unattended in some states, including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
4. DON’T LEAVE VALUABLES IN THE CAR
Many times thieves see something they like, so they break in and take it. Make sure you take your valuables with you, or keep them out of sight.
5. PARK IN WELL-LIT AREAS
If you’re parking your car somewhere after the sun has gone down, try to find a spot underneath a streetlight that's well-lit and well trafficked.
6. USE A VISIBLE OR AUDIBLE DEVICE
Another layer of protection is to install an audible alarm system and anti-theft device.
7. INSTALL A VEHICLE IMMOBILIZER
You can also install a vehicle immobilizer system that will disable the vehicle so a thief can’t take off with it. These include smart keys, fuse cut-offs, and kill switches.
8. INVEST IN A TRACKING SYSTEM
Install a tracking system that emits a signal to the police or monitoring service when the vehicle is reported stolen. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked by computer.
9. BE AWARE OF DISTRACTION LARCENIES
Be aware of distraction larcenies. Authorities say drivers can be targeted by those acting as good Samaritans. They're told there's a problem with their car, such as a missing lug nut or low tire pressure. As the suspects help the driver, police say partners in the crime are stealing items from the car.