When people think about car theft, they typically think of shattered glass, screeching tires, and a missing car. But what is a lot more common is for thieves to steal things from the inside or the outside of the vehicle rather than resorting to grand theft auto.
This is important for drivers to understand, because most people carry some very valuable items inside their car. If and when thieves strike is annoying at best and devastating at worst.
There are a number of things you can do to deflect and deter car thieves. First, however, it helps to understand what kinds of things thieves target. These are the top 10 items according to a study of more than 800,000 incident reports:
- Car stereos
- Shopping bags
- GPS devices
- Cell phones
- Vehicle badging
- License plate
Some of those are pretty obvious – shopping bags, wallets, cell phones. But others might come as a surprise. For instance, car stereos are still a hot target even though the technology is passé. Vehicle badging, like hood ornaments, has a surprisingly strong appeal to crooks. And car thieves are more than willing to use tools to steal a nice set of wheels.
To add insult to injury, a theft from a vehicle might also lead to a broken window, a vandalized interior/exterior, or damage to some mechanical component. The cost and consequence can extend beyond the missing item itself.
For reasons that are both obvious and obscure, drivers want to deter thieves at all costs and limit the damage if they do fall victim. Here are some strategies to safeguard your car:
Choose the Right Vehicle
Certain features of the vehicle itself can help to deter thieves. For instance, tinted windows make it harder to see if valuable items are left out in plain sight. Now obviously not every vehicle has tinted windows. So, try to think of other safety features. For example, a vehicle with a locking trunk that has no windows to see inside also helps to obscure valuables. A lockable glove box is another fantastic option. Finally, traditional keys tend to be harder to duplicate or steal than smart keys that rely on electronic signals to unlock doors or start the ignition.
If you must leave valuables inside your vehicle, try to put them on the floor where they are harder to see, such as the truck. If you don’t have a trunk, at least put your belongings under a blanket.
If you have a nice stereo unit, remove the faceplate and put it somewhere safe. If you do the same for a GPS unit, be sure the suction cups are not still stuck to your windshield and tipping off thieves that valuable are inside. Last but certainly not least, don’t attract thieves by leaving cash money sitting out or change in a cup holder. All it takes is one enticement for thieves to target your vehicle and ransack it entirely.
Everyone understands how risky it is to leave doors unlocked or windows cracked, and yet almost everyone does it at some time. Make it a habit to close and lock every window and door. Better still, take anything you can’t afford to lose with you when you leave. Where you park is also important. Busy, well-lit areas attract fewer thieves and tend to have regular police presence.
You can be compensated for the cost of stolen items as long as you have the right kind of auto insurance policy. A quality auto insurance rate comparison tool makes it relatively easy to find the right kind of coverage at the best possible price. It’s still up to drivers to be diligent but being backed by good policy provides a lot of peace of mind.