How to Protect Yourself From Auto Thieves
While I was shopping in a department store, another customer came up to the clerk and asked to speak to security. Her car had been stolen from the parking lot. A friend of ours had their new Lexus stolen from valet parking while they were attending a fund raiser at a hotel. One of our son-in-laws had a brick thrown through his car window and the expensive radio that he had installed was literally ripped out of the dashboard, along with everything else of value that he had left inside the car. No one's car is totally immune from being stolen.
What are some of the things that you can do to prevent your car from being the next one victimized?
THE TYPE OF AUTOMOBILE YOU DRIVE
Certain cars seem to be more popular with thieves than others, and their favorites change from time to time. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute 2010 report, the type of vehicles that are the most frequently stolen are large luxury SUV's, in particular the Cadillac Escalade. Other automobiles that have been stolen at a high rate during the past year were the Ford F250, the Infinity G37, the Dodge Charger, the Chevy Corvette, the Hummer H2, the Nissan Pathfinder, the Chevy Avalanche, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Yukon.
Autos that had a low theft rate during the past year were the Volvo S80, the Saturn VUE, the Nissan Murano, the Honda Pilot, the Subaru Impreza, theToyota Prius, the Mini Cooper, the Toyota Tacoma and the Toyota Sienna. However, you can't count on the fact that your brand of automobile is less frequently stolen, because it can happen to anyone.
When you go auto shopping, you might take into consideration not only how appealing the car is to you, but also how appealing the car will be to potential thieves. Sometimes, less really is more, especially if you want to save yourself a lot of aggravation down the road.
WHERE YOU PARK YOUR AUTOMOBILE
Ask yourself where you will be driving and leaving your car. If you frequently leave your auto in unattended parking lots, or parked on quiet side streets, especially at night, you may be making your auto more vulnerable to theft. Car alarms go off so frequently, that they are often ignored by casual observers. Try to park your car as much as possible in areas where they are clearly visible to yourself or a parking lot attendant. Sometimes it is worth it to give a valet an extra little tip to keep your car parked up front.If you park on the street, select a busy location near a business, where an observant clerk might notice if someone is breaking a window. At night, try to choose a well lit location. At home, keep your car in a locked garage whenever possible.If this is not practical, park it as close to your residence as possible, so that you are more likely to hear if your alarm goes off.
If you drive your car to your gym, you may want to think twice about leaving your purse or wallet locked in the trunk of your car. See if there is a locker at the gym that you can use instead.Many thieves are known to stalk areas around fitness centers watching for people to leave their personal belongings in the trunks of their cars.Once the car's owner enters the gym, the thief sweeps in, breaks into the trunk, and is gone before anyone realizes what happened!
WHAT YOU LEAVE IN YOUR AUTO
While attending a child's soccer game a few years ago, in a park next to our town's police department, a group of auto thieves were able to break into several cars parked along the street in broad daylight, while the owners were only a few yards away cheering on the soccer players. The thieves were probably emboldened by the fact that the car owners were obviously distracted by the soccer games they were watching. Because they were so close, many of the mothers had left their purses sitting on the car seats.Many of the fathers had left jackets, with their wallets inside, lying in the back seat. The thieves simply walked along the street side of the automobiles, punched out the drivers' side windows, and stole everything that was visible inside.
The lesson in this is to always look at your car the same way a thief might.Do you have packages in plain site? Are there any duffel bags or jackets visible?Is there a computer case lying on the backseat?Have you added a new, expensive stereo? All of these items are invitations to thieves. I have even heard of cases where thieves broke a car window just to steal the change that was visible in a cup holder. If there is something in your automobile that might attract thieves, either hide it or take extra precautions when your park your car.
MORE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Although it is nearly impossible to totally keep your car from being stolen or broken into, there are a few additional things that you can do to limit your losses.Some cars are now equipped with stolen car tracking equipment, such as General Motors "On Star" system. The success of stolen car recovery, and the speed of recovery, is enhanced by this tracking equipment. In addition, if you feel that your car has a high likelihood of being stolen, be sure that you carry comprehensive auto insurance, unless your auto is old and you feel that you can afford to personally cover the loss.Working together, we can reduce our chances of becoming another crime victim.
Here are other articles about protecting yourself and your family from crime:
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