These days, most car thieves aren’t just dumb thrill seekers looking to have a joy ride in someone else’s car. Car thieves are much more sophisticated than you might think. They are in it for the money. If your car is popular with buyers, it may be popular with car thieves as well.
Here are some tips for Orange County drivers to make your car as theft-proof as possible.
Remember: Time is on your side. The longer it takes a thief to break in and steal your car, the less likely they will be to accomplish their mission.
1. Lock your car.
May sound simple, but half of all stolen cars are unlocked.
2. Take your keys with you.
Even if you’re parking in your very own home garage, don’t leave keys in the car.
3. Don’t hide spare keys in your car.
You’re not being clever – car thieves know ALL the hiding spots. If you’re prone to locking your keys in your car, come up with a better backup plan than a magnetic box on the underside of your bumper.
4. Don’t leave your car running unattended.
Auto theft is a crime of convenience. Leaving your car running at an ATM, gas station, or convenience store is not worth the risk. It won’t save you much time anyway. As nice as it is to hop into a toasty warm car on a cold morning, it’s also not wise to start your car a few minutes before leaving for work.
5. Close windows completely.
Again, we’re trying to make your car less accessible.
6. Park in visibile, high-traffic areas.
Where possible, park in attended lots and garages. Parking areas with security personnel and attendants are less likely to be stolen. It’s worth the few extra bucks.
Park in well-lit areas and nearest the entrance to where you’re going. Witnesses are your friends!
7. Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
Either take them with you, or store them in the trunk. If your sound system has a removable face plate, take it off and either take it with you, or store it in the trunk.
8. Park smart.
Many car thieves actually use tow trucks to steal cars. To make your car tougher to tow, follow these simple guidelines:
- Park with wheels turned toward the curb (or sideways, if parking in a lot or driveway).
- Always set your emergency brake.
- If your car is rear-wheel drive, back into your spot or driveway and set the emergency brake.
- If your car is front-wheel drive, park front-end first and set your emergency brake.
9. Have a garage? Use it!
Orange County doesn’t get much weather, so many drivers may feel it’s not necessary to park in the garage. But the less visible and accessible your car is, the less opportunity a thief has to steal it. Lock your garage’s side door, and don’t leave your car keys in the car.
10. Don’t leave title or registration in your car.
Title, registration, insurance information – basically anything with personal information or a home address. Store your car’s title at home in a file, and keep your registration and insurance info in your wallet (obviously you need those things with you if you get into an accident or get stopped by police).
11. Car alarm tips
Car alarms have become the proverbial “boy who cried wolf.” People don’t pay much attention to the sound of a car alarm sounding these days, except to remark at how annoying it sounds. Here are some tips for making your car alarm effective:
- Purchase a car alarm with a pager installed that notifies you when the alarm is activated.
- Have your car alarm installed by a professional car alarm installer, as opposed to a retail chain. These guys know more about what it takes to make your car elusive to crooks.
- Don’t display decals that show what alarm system you have. Car thieves have different techniques for disabling alarm systems depending on the brand or style. (That goes for sound systems too.)
- Consider purchasing a hood lock cable to protect your battery and/or car alarm mechanism from being tampered with.
Protect yourself and your car by using these simple techniques! Safety 1st is committed to making Orange County a better place – one safe driver at a time!