10 ways to protect your car from being broken into or stolen
One of the most disheartening things that has ever happened to me was having my car broken into. It could have been worse-after all, I have friends who have had a vehicle stolen before. When planning for survival, it’s easy to get distracted by the thought of protecting your home and forget about safeguarding your automobile. Here are some things I have learned through my own experiences that will hopefully help you maintain your own vehicle’s security.
#1. Park in a Well-Lit Area
Car thieves would rather work under the cover of darkness whenever possible, and tend to target vehicles accordingly. Any time I am out at night, I always make it a point to park underneath a security light if one is available. I also try to avoid places that do not have good lighting after dark. Doing this has forced me to look for security lights during the day so I will already know where I should and should not go once the sun goes down.
#2. Park in Busy Areas
As mentioned, criminals do not like being spotted. This means that one of the best ways to deter them is to park in an area that has a lot of activity (preferably close to other vehicles and not at a far end). Even so, you should avoid parking lots that seem to have a good number of people just hanging out. Automobile thieves often canvass parking lots in teams, so always trust your instincts and leave right away if you have an uneasy feeling.
#3. Always Lock Doors and Windows
I used to think that there was no need to lock my car’s doors and windows if I was only going inside a store for a few minutes. After having my car broken into, I learned the hard way that my vehicle is never really safe. I now make it a point to lock my doors and windows every time I am more than an arm’s length away from my car (and that includes while pumping gas). While doing so will not stop all car thefts, it will prevent a large number of them, particularly if you park in a well-lit area where criminals are likely to be seen breaking a window.
#4. Hide what is Inside your Car
Don’t make it obvious that you have pilferable items in your car. If only I had thought about that, I might have prevented my windows from being smashed in. Take your purse or wallet with you, and hide any valuables you can’t carry underneath the seat or in your glove box. During cases of rioting or civil unrest, you should also hide other things such as water, survival food, or medicine. Remember that desperate times call for desperate measures, meaning that people might be tempted to loot and steal more often than ever after a disaster.
#5. Secure what is Outside your Car
Hood ornaments are like a magnet for automobile thieves because they are easy to remove, difficult to trace, and can easily be sold on the black market. For this reason, you may want to remove your hood ornament any time your vehicle is left unattended. It is also a good idea to place wheel locks on your wheels, including your spare if it is attached to the back of your vehicle. Turn your wheels when parking, making it harder for thieves to access them without starting your car through hotwiring.
#6. Use a Club Device
None of my friends who have experienced a vehicle theft were using a club-like device on their steering wheel at the time. Yes, a criminal could cut your steering wheel in order to disable the lock, but the odds that someone will actually take the time to do so are really very small. Using a club becomes especially important when public transportation systems go down since thieves will be looking for alternate methods of getting around.
#7. Install a Car Alarm
Car alarms are something else that tend to deter thieves. Pay for a good system and professional installation, but avoid placing warning stickers anywhere on your vehicle. These only show burglars what type of system you have, making it easy for them to “Google” how to get around it. However, you should make sure that beeping red light is easy to spot because the sight of it tends to make intruders run and flee.
#8. Keep the Inside of your Car Clean
This one may sound a bit strange, but it actually works. When choosing a car to break into, criminals will first glance inside to see if there might be anything interesting. A very clean car that seems to have nothing in it is unlikely to interest them much, in which case they will likely bypass it and move on to another vehicle.
#9. Subscribe to a Tracking Service
An automobile thief dreads being tracked almost as much as he does being seen. As a result, subscribing to a service such as OnStar or Lojack can go a long way toward helping you avoid car theft. This is one time when you can proudly display a sticker on your windshield-after all, you want to make it clear that you can track your vehicle should the need ever arise.
#10. Etch your VIN# on Key Parts
Vehicles that are stolen can easily be dismantled in a matter of minutes. To make sure your car’s parts do not wind up in a “chop shop”, have your VIN# etched onto your windshield, dashboard, engine, and other key components. If your VIN# is clearly visible on your windshield or dashboard, perpetrators may think twice about stealing your automobile. In the event it is heisted anyway, odds are seeing your VIN# on an engine block might cause criminals to abandon it before taking things apart, which will increase your odds of recovery.
These ten things can go a long way toward helping you prevent having your car stolen or broken into. Take heed of this advice so you do not wind up being a crime victim like I did.