I moved into a new building just this week, and two different neighbors came out and warned me, within minutes of me moving in, that there were a lot of car thefts in the neighborhood. In fact, my next door neighbor had hers stolen twice.
It’s a great neighborhood, they both said. But your car is at serious risk.
Most experts say that due to the economy, car thefts have been steadily going up, even in relatively “safe” neighborhoods. And around the holidays, car thefts go up even more.
I’ve been researching ways to protect my own car, and thought it would make a timely post for all of you as well!
So, what can you do to protect your car during the holidays (and the rest of the year)?
1. Buy A Club
If there’s any theft deterrent that truly works, I’d put my money on The Club. Why? Because since I’ve moved to Detroit, I’ve seen more cars protected with The Club than anything else. If so many people use it here, it must work, right?
I got a Club for my own car, and have to say it’s working pretty great so far (after all, my car’s still here!). It’s very easy to use, and it’s giving me peace of mind, especially at night (when most car thefts happen).
The Club is a reinforced steel bar that works by locking down your steering wheel. If someone does manage to get into your car, they’re not going to be able to turn the wheel because The Club will either hit the door or the seat. So, they’re stuck, and that’s something that car thieves don’t want to deal with.
The Club sell for $43 at Amazon, and to me it’s been worth every penny.
2. Lock Your Car
Seems an obvious point, right? Well, authorities say that many thefts take place simply because the car was unlocked to begin with. Thieves are opportunists, and an unlocked car is an open door for them to walk through.
Even if you live in a small town or a “safe” suburb, always lock your car.
3. Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Car
This is a lesson I’ve taken to heart since I moved to Detroit. If there’s anything desirable in your car, you stand a good chance of getting your window bashed in so a thief can grab it.
Never leave valuable items in your car, especially during the holidays. This includes a GPS, DVD player, backpacks, cash, holiday gifts, iPods, cell phones, even cds. The less temptation you offer thieves, the lower your chance of being a victim.
4. Park In a Well-Lighted Place
Thieves need cover and darkness to break into your car without being seen. If you have to park in a parking lot, park by the lamp post or in full view of parking lot security cameras.
5. Don’t Leave Your Car Running
Want to know where a majority of cars are stolen?
Driveways and day care centers. Surprising, right?
It’s because these two places are where we often start the car, and leave it running unattended. All a thief has to do is open the door!
Never leave your car running unattended, even if you’re in a safe place. You never know when a thief can strike.
6. Keep Your Windows Up
A thin arm or a wire hanger is all a thief needs to get into your car if the window is cracked. Close them fully before you turn your car off, even in the summer.
7. Fake It
If you can’t afford OnStar or LoJack for your car, then find a decal you can put on the windows to let thieves know the car is protected with this technology. Yeah, it’s fake. But how will they know?
Do any of you have tips to lesson your risk of car theft? Or, have you ever had your own car stolen? Did you get it back? I’d love to hear your stories and tips, so please send them in!
<small>(Photo Credit: ell brown)<small>