Ah, what would we do without our cars? They’re faithful. Reliable (usually). An extension of ourselves. We spend hours upon hours in our cars—stuck in traffic, commuting to work, going grocery shopping, running errands, meeting friends. In fact, according to AAA, Americans spend 17,600 minutes a year driving. That’s about 290 hours, or twelve whole days. The amount of time we spend with our cars makes them become part of our personal space. We care about our cars.
So if someone were to ever break into your car, you’d feel violated. Betrayed. Unsafe. That car is your space. It belongs to you and it’s one of your best friends. It just happens to be a best friend that you’re required to leave unattended for hours at a time since you can’t exactly bring your car into the office or house with you. Someone breaking into your car and rifling through your belongings is as personal as if they broke into your home. It would be a nightmare.
But there are some simple things you can do to stop this nightmare before it begins. Developing good habits when it comes to your car’s safety could save you lots of heartache later. Some home insurance policies will cover items stolen from inside a vehicle, but still, it’s better that they’re not stolen in the first place.
Lock the doors and close the windows and sunroof completely.
Be sure to check that you’ve locked all doors to the vehicle before leaving it unattended, even if you’re only planning to be gone for a minute or two. Yes, this might be elementary but lots of thefts occur simply because the doors have been left unlocked. Also, if your car has an alarm, leaving the windows or sunroof open could affect the pressure sensors.
Hide anything that you’re going to leave in the car.
It’s smart to do this before you get to where you need to go. If you have everything hidden and packed away before you park, no one will see what you’re trying to hide—but if you move something from inside your car to the trunk, for example, anyone could see you and decide to target your car when you leave. If you drive a car with an open cargo space like a pick-up truck, it’s a good idea to get a cover for it so that you’re not leaving your belongings where anyone could see and take them.
Don’t leave valuables in your car.
Thieves are on the lookout for any type of electronic device, so if possible bring any electronics with you. Don’t leave them in your car unless it’s completely necessary and you hide them out of sight.
Stow cords and adaptors out of sight and remove tell-tale signs.
GPS cords and cell phone chargers are both dead giveaways that there could be goodies in your car. Keep these cords out of sight, and as an extra precaution plug the top to your cigarette lighter back into its socket. Also, take the GPS suction off your windshield—that’s also a sign that there could be something worth stealing in your car. Even the suction-cup marks on your windshield could attract a thief to your vehicle, so try to remember to wipe these off when you remove your GPS.
Keep your car clean.
You know there’s nothing in the empty box sitting in your backseat, but a thief doesn’t. They might think there’s something valuable inside and go after it. Avoid having clutter in your car that a thief might think conceals something good.
Get a car alarm and theft deterrents.
When someone breaks into a car, they could be planning to steal it. Installing a steering wheel lock, a collar for the steering column, or a lock for the brake pedal provides a visible sign that the thief wouldn’t be able to take the car even if they broke in, which decreases the chance that they’ll try it.
Park in well-lit areas.
Park your car in a well-travelled, easily visible area. Try to avoid parking in places where your car could be concealed from view, as this provides a thief with the opportunity to break in with no one seeing. A thief is less likely to attempt to steal from a car that’s in plain sight than one that’s out of sight.
What to do if your car has been broken into…
It’s also important to know what to do if your car is broken into. First of all, call 911. Even if your first instinct and temptation at the sight of broken glass from a window is to root around to see what’s been taken, don’t. If you leave the car the way you found it and explain everything to the police, the chances are greater that they’ll be able to pull a fingerprint and find the thief.
Most of these are fairly simple things to do to lower the chances that you’ll be a victim of a car break-in. It doesn’t take much time to make your car as secure as possible when you tell it good-bye and go into the office or house. Your car will thank you.