To be better prepared and protected, vehicle owners need to know what to do to detract car thieves. The steps to better protection are not very difficult. The first goal should be to make the vehicle a difficult target. When thieves do a quick assessment on a car, they are likely to pass up one that is better protected. From their perspectives, they want vehicles they can quickly break into and take. There are several simple things car owners can do to make their vehicles less attractive to car thieves.
1. Never leave the keys in the ignition. Do not leave the keys sitting on the seat or in the glove box. Keep the keys in hand while the car is not occupied. More than 10 percent of stolen vehicles are taken because the keys are left in the car or in the ignition. Never leave the car running unattended, and do not leave children in it.
2. Lock the vehicle. About 50 percent of stolen vehicles are taken because they were left unlocked. Modern locks are difficult to pry, and thieves prefer unlocked doors. Be sure the windows are rolled up completely.
3. Do not hide a spare set of keys in or under the car. If this trick is so popular that there are special magnetic key holders in every auto supply store, rest assured that thieves know about them. Many car thieves watch their targets, so they may know exactly where to look for an extra key.
4. Choose attended lots over unattended areas. Vehicle thieves despise witnesses, so they try to avoid them at all costs.
5. Park under plenty of light. If a parking lot is dark and unattended, find a safer location. Thieves love places where it is difficult to be seen.
6. Limit key access in attended lots. Not all parking lot attendants are upstanding citizens, so it is important to be wary of them. When handing the keys over, only give attendants the keys to the door and the ignition. If the vehicle has a trunk with the same key as the door, have one of them changed. By doing this, vehicle owners can put important items in the trunk without worrying about lot attendants stealing them. Make sure any backseat access to the trunk is restricted. Always make sure the battery, spare tire and regular tires are in tact after returning to the car.
7. Never leave valuables in plain view. Leaving a purse or valuable item on a seat is like leaving a steak on the porch when there are stray dogs nearby. Valuable items are just bait for thieves.
8. Use the garage. Vehicle owners who have garages should use them. Thieves are not likely to want to break into a garage and a vehicle. They want something quicker and easier. Be sure to lock the garage and the vehicle.
9. Never leave the title or registration in the car. It is best to carry registration proof in a wallet that will not be left in the vehicle. Keep the title at home in a safe place. Thieves can use these documents to sell stolen vehicles.
10. Use the emergency brake. This increases car safety, and thieves will have a harder time trying to tow it.