12 Ways to Prevent Auto Theft

According to the FBI, a car is stolen every 23 seconds in the United States. In the city of Los Angeles, about 30,000 cars are ripped off each year, accounting for approximately one-quarter of all property crimes. You can avoid becoming part of the statistical carnage by employing both commonsense and forward-thinking anti-theft strategies. Read on and we will look at 12 ways that you can keep your car out of the hands of thieves.

1. Just lock it. Always lock your car. Turn your car off, remove the keys and lock the doors. Activate the alarm system if you have one.

2. Park in public, well-lit areas. Certainly, your car can get stolen in broad daylight. But, why make it easy on thieves by parking it in a dark, obscure place that invites a theft? The more local movement, the less likely thieves will feel comfortable about taking your car.

3. Employ driveway sense. A trick of thieves is to pull up in a tow truck and hitch your car for a quick getaway. You can thwart crooks by backing your rear-wheel-drive car into your driveway and positioning your front-wheel-drive face in. Engage your parking brake too.

4. Turn on your alarm. If you have an alarm system, turn it on when you are parked. Use it or risk losing it…your car, that is.

5. Install a hood lock. Thieves can quickly disengage your alarm by popping the hood and disconnecting the battery. You can thwart this attempt by installing a separate dead bolt hood lock.

6. Know your vehicle’s popularity. Just because your car is old does not mean that it any less attractive to thieves. The 1994 Honda Accord and the 1998 Honda Civic are the two top most stolen cars in the country reports the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Older versions of Ford’s F-150 truck and the Toyota Camry are also popular targets for their parts.

7. Use vehicle tracking. Buy a new car and there is a greater likelihood that it will come equipped with a vehicle tracking device. GM’s OnStar is one such system and its current packages include "stolen vehicle slowdown" for easier law enforcement apprehension.

8. Take your belongings with you. Okay, maybe thieves don’t want your car. But, those Christmas packages or other goodies you have left in your car are certainly appealing. A smashed window and a quick grab and snatch is all that it takes to rip off your belongings, so take these prized possessions with you.

9. Your hidden keys. How smart of you to hide a key underneath your car! After all, this is a practice that thieves would never consider. Unfortunately, to steal a car, thieves may feel underneath your bumpers, your wheel wells and other exposed area to find a key. Don’t make it easy for them — never hide a key!

10. Stow your title. In your glove box is your car’s registration and insurance papers. What shouldn’t be found is your title. Making your title available to thieves is an invitation to disaster — your vehicle can be stolen and quickly retitled as an unsuspecting party buys your car.

11. Disable your car. If you will be away from your car for extended time such as catching a flight and parking it at the airport, thieves will be on the lookout for your vehicle. Make it difficult for them to jump in and start your car by disabling it, removing the ignition fuse or coil wire. You may not be able to get these items through airport security, so stash them in the trunk underneath your spare tire.

12. VIN etching and engraving. You can thwart thieves by having your vehicle identification number or VIN etched to your car windows in plain sight. Also consider engraving important parts with your VIN, to make it less likely that thieves will want to disassemble your car for the value of its separate parts.

Theft Prevention Tips

There are other ways you can make it more difficult for thieves to steal your car. You can install a steering wheel lock, a kill switch and a floorboard lock, the latter making it impossible for thieves to use your accelerator. Consider installing multiple devices if you plan to leave your car unattended for a stretch of time or if you live or are visiting a car theft prone area.

Author Information
Keith Winters is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with automotive advice. He writes for Butty Buddy, a leading manufacturer of motorcycle seats.

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