Don’t Be A Victim: How To Thwart Vehicle Thieves
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 765,000 vehicles were stolen in the United States in 2016. That equates to a vehicle theft occurring once every 41 seconds. To make matters worse, the NHTSA goes on that 42% of stolen vehicles are never recovered.
While it’s not always possible to avoid, here are some tips that will help keep your vehicle safe and secure.
Know Your Vehicle’s Anti-Theft Devices
All modern vehicles come equipped with some form of anti-theft device standard. However, the type of device and its capabilities in potentially preventing or recovering a stolen vehicle can vary widely. Some vehicles come equipped with audible and visual theft deterrents, such as a loud horn and flashing lights. Others, come equipped with immobilizing devices or “kill switches” that can either prevent a thief from hotwiring your vehicle, or allow you to remotely kill the engine if they do manage to start the ignition. Some vehicles even come with recovery systems that can assist in locating your vehicle at any given time (such as OnStar). It’s important to understand what device or devices your vehicle comes equipped with, and how to properly work them.
Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Whether it’s a purse, a laptop, or work-related equipment, it’s important to keep anything of value hidden and away from prying eyes. Thieves are creatures of opportunity, and if they see what looks to be an easy score, will attempt to take advantage. If you must leave items of value inside your vehicle, hide them as best you can either under a seat, covered by another object, or locked away in your trunk.
Park in the Right Place
Often times, car thefts can be avoided by simply parking in the proper area. Thieves prefer to work under the cover of darkness, so park in a well-lit area if at all possible. When parking in a large lot, try to park as close to the main entrance as possible as thieves will be less likely to try their luck on a vehicle in a well trafficked area. If you notice security cameras in the vicinity, attempt to park in their line of sight as they will serve as yet another potential deterrent.
Never Leave Your Vehicle Running Unattended
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but if you pull into any gas station in America right now, you’re likely to see at least one vehicle left running unattended while the owner is inside the store. It happens all of the time. Thieves look for easy targets, and there’s no easier target than an unattended running vehicle. Additionally, make sure to close your windows and sunroof when leaving your car. If left open, they could provide easy access to your vehicle.
And if All Else Fails…
If all else fails and your vehicle does happen to be stolen, contact the police immediately. If the vehicle is a personal vehicle, be sure to also contact your insurance company. If the vehicle was a company provided vehicle, reach out to your employer and/or fleet management company for additional instructions.