Your Car: How to Deter Auto Theft

Below are written transcripts of our podcast interview with Officer Ron Reier, the Public Information Officer of the Minneapolis Police Department. To listen to these and other podcasts visit our blog.

Listen Here (Quicktime): 4 Fast Tips on Deterring Car Theft

Officer Ron Reier: So, one, remove your keys. Two, lock your vehicle. Three, if you’re parking your vehicle out on the street, park it in an area that’s well-lit, if you can try to do that. And four, well we don’t endorse one particular product, these products called ‘The Club,’ it’s a very inexpensive tool to put on the steering wheel.

Now a lot of people say, “Hey, they can cut through ‘The Club,’ they can rip ‘The Club’ off, they can do all these things,” that’s true. However, if you were an auto thief and you’re walking down the street, and you’re gonna try to steal a car, and out of the four cars, three of them have a Club attached to the steering wheel, my bet is you’re gonna go to that fourth car. So there’s some very inexpensive tips that we can all follow.

Listen Here (Quicktime): Car Break-In Prevention Tips

Officer Ron Reier: There are some common sense things that you think everyone would obey but most everybody does not. We could go outside right now, in fact, on your way out of here, walk by a row of parked cars and look in the parked cars and you will be amazed at the number of items that people leave in common plain view: parking meter change, CDs, a CD player, glasses, a wallet, a purse, computers. I mean there’s so many items of value and for the thief this is a great opportunity.

I mean even a simple thing like 5 quarters you’d be amazed how many people would bust into a car just to steal some change. And what you’ve done is given them the opportunity once they’re inside your car to rummage through the glove box, to reach under the seats, so if items of value are not in plain view that would be a huge help.

There are three things necessary for a crime to be committed, if you take away any one of the three, the crime can’t happen: you need motive, you need opportunity and you need a victim. So if somebody is looking for the opportunity to steal and they don’t see anything in your car, you’ve taken away the motive. If you have an item of value in the car, you’re giving them the opportunity and you then are gonna become a victim, because it’s gonna be your loss. So if we remove the victim, you know, from the other two, remove the opportunity from the other two or the motive from the other two, the crime can’t take place.

Updated: 5/2009