Top 14 Car Theft Prevention Tips

CAR THEFT - car thief Photo Credit: Sergey Mironov

This information is from the Austin, Texas Police Department, the San Jose Police DepartmentNational Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more tips, watch these two videos on how to prevent car break-ins:

  1. Lock Your Car and Take Your Keys.
    • Nearly 7% of all stolen vehicles had the keys in them.
  2. Completely close all vehicle windows when parking.
    • Worried about heat? Park in the shade.
  3. Never Hide a Second Set of Keys in Your Car.
    • Extra keys can easily be found if a thief takes the time to look.
  4. Park in Well-Lit Areas.
    • Over half of all vehicle thefts occur at night.
  5. Park in Attended Lots.
    • Car thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
  6. If You Use Valet Parking, Leave Only the Ignition/Door Key.
    • If your trunk and glove box use the same key as the door, have one of them changed. Don’t give the attendant easy access to your glove box and trunk.
    • Upon returning, check the tires, spare and battery to insure they are the same as those you had when you parked.
  7. Never Leave Your Car Running, Even if You’ll Only Be Gone for a Minute.
    • Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATM’s, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm it up.
  8. If Your Vehicle is Rear-Wheel Drive, Back Into Your Driveway.
    • Rear wheels lock on four-wheel drive vehicles, making them difficult to tow. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front-end first.
  9. Don’t Leave the Registration or Title in Your Car.
    • A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title at your home or office, and carry the registration in your purse or wallet.
  10. Disable Your Vehicle When Leaving it Unattended for an Extended Period.
    • Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle anytime thieves may have extended access to it.
  11. Replace “T”-shaped Door Locks With Straight Locks.
    • Some vehicle doors have lock assemblies at window level that flare out in a knob or “T” shape. A thief can use various tools to gain access inside the vehicle, grab and pull the lock. Straight locks prevent this.
  12. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
    • Stolen car/parts are more easily traced when vehicle VIN numbers have been etched on car windows and major parts.
  13. Engrave Expensive Accessories.
    • Engrave personal I.D. numbers on car stereos, cellular phones, etc., so the thief will have difficulty selling them.
  14. Drop Business Cards, Address Labels, or Other I.D. Inside Vehicle Doors.
    • Car thieves usually alter vehicle identification numbers. By marking your vehicle as much as possible, you assist police in identifying your car.

WHN TIP – Advice from Experts: Listen to this podcast about tips to avoid car-break-ins!

WHN TIP – Advice from Experts: This podcast covers deterring car thieves.

Photo Credit: Sergey Mironov

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