“No Cost” Precautions
- Take Your Keys. Nearly 20 percent of all vehicles stolen had the keys in them.
- Lock Your Car. Approximately 50 percent of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
- Never Hide a Second Set of Keys in Your Car. Extra keys can easily be found if a thief takes time to look.
- Park in Well-lighted Areas. More than half of all vehicle thefts occur at night.
- Park in Attended Lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
- If you Park in an Attended Lot, Leave Only the Ignition/Door Key. If your trunk and glovebox use the same key as the door, have one of them changed. Don't give the attendant easy access to your glovebox and trunk. Upon returning, check the tires, spare and battery to ensure they are the same as those you had when you parked.
- Never Leave Your Car Running, Even if You’ll Only Be Gone for a Minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATM’s etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up. Leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime.
- Completely Close Car Windows when Parking. Don’t make it any easier for the thief to enter your vehicle.
- Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain View. Don’t make your car a more desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight.
- Park With Your Wheels Turned Toward the Curb. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels also should be turned to the side in driveways and parking lots.
- If Your Vehicle is Rear-Wheel Drive, Back Into Your Driveway. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front end first. On four-wheel drive vehicles the rear wheels sometimes lock, making them difficult to tow.
- Always Use Your Emergency Brake When Parking. In addition to ensuring safety, using the emergency brake makes your car harder to tow.
- If You Have a Garage, Use It. If you have a garage, take the time to use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable.
- When Parking in a Garage, Lock the Garage Door and Your Vehicle. By locking both the garage and vehicle doors, the chances of deterring a thief greatly improve.
- Don’t Leave the Registration or Title in Your Car. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title at your home or office, and carry registration in your purse or wallet.
- Disable Your Vehicle When Leaving it Unattended for an Extended Period. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle anytime thieves may have extended access to it.
- Replace “T”-shaped Door Locks With Straight Locks. Some vehicle doors have lock assemblies at window level that flare out in a knob or “T” shape. A thief can can use various tools to gain access inside the vehicle, grab and pull the lock. Straight locks prevent this.
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Stolen cars/parts are more easily traced when VIN numbers have been etched on car windows and major parts.
- Engrave Expensive Accessories. Engrave personal I.D. numbers on car stereos, cellular phones, etc., so the thief will have difficulty disposing of them.
- Drop Business Cards, Address Labels, or Other I.D. Inside Vehicle Doors. Car thieves usually alter vehicle identification numbers. By marking your vehicle as much as possible, you assist police in identifying your car.
Investing in Vehicle Protection
- Ignition Kill Switch. Splice an inexpensive toggle switch into your ignition wire or to your starter. The trick is hiding your switch well. Keypads, pressure pads, and more expensive “Immobilizers” and “Passkeys” also can be used.
- Fuel Kill Switch. The valve that halts the fuel supply is closed.
- Visible Steering Wheel Lock. Prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
- Floorboard Locks. Devices that disable the gas or brake pedal.
- Gearshift Locks. Disables shifting of the transmission.
- Tire/Wheel Locks. Prevents the vehicle from moving.
- Hood Locks. Prevents the thief from gaining access to your security systems and battery.
- Armored Collar Around the Steering. Protects the column and ignition.
Electronic Security Systems
- Alarms. Loud warnings sound when doors/hood/trunk are opened. Optional sensors include glass breakage, motion and towing. Panic buttons, back-up batteries, flashing parking lights or headlights, and automatic engine disable features also are recommended.
- Vehicle Tracking. Transmitter hidden in car enables police to track the car. (Not available in all areas.)
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