Most crimes declined when the coronavirus pandemic began, but car thefts went up. More cars sitting idle meant more opportunities for car thieves.
In April, New York City police reported a 53 percent increase in car thefts compared to the same period in 2019. In Seattle, the increase was 24 percent.
Now’s a good time to figure out how to protect your car from theft. Even aside from the pandemic, car thefts tend to increase in summer.
Keep reading for five car theft prevention tips worth following any time of year.
1. Lock Up Every Time
We’ve all done it: We’ve left our car unlocked while we go inside to run a quick errand. If you’re only going to be gone a minute or two, what’s the harm?
An unlocked car is more appealing to thieves. More experienced ones only need a minute or two, if not less, to get away with your vehicle.
Locking your car is both simple and the best way to prevent car theft.
2. Place Valuables in the Trunk
You’ve likely heard that determined car thieves will break the windows. Some will, but many only do that if they see something valuable inside your car.
Don’t leave your purse or smartphone in plain view. Yes, sometimes you may not want to take those items inside.
If so, place them in your trunk. It’s more secure then putting them under your seat or somewhere you think is out of view.
3. Know If Your Car is a Target
Every driver should assume car theft is a possibility. But there’s no denying that the owners of some vehicles have to be more careful.
Do the research and find out if your car is among the most stolen vehicles in the country. Pickup trucks and muscle cars often make such lists. But, you might find your modest little sedan on there as well.
If you know you’re a target, you can better prepare yourself. That doesn’t mean becoming paranoid. But, it does mean taking an honest look at what else you can do to keep your vehicle safe.
4. Install a Tracking Device
A tracking device won’t necessarily prevent auto theft, but it will help local authorities find your car a lot faster.
But, this is not a DIY project. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are; only a professional mechanic should install tracking devices.
5. Understand Your Surroundings
If you can park in a well-lit area over a darker one, do that. If your apartment offers a carport or garage, opt for that instead of street parking.
Being aware of your surroundings is a key element of car theft prevention. If you’re going to a concert downtown, leave yourself plenty of time to find parking.
That way, you’re less likely to feel rush and park in a spot that might leave you vulnerable to thieves.
How to Protect Your Car From Theft
Car theft is often a crime of opportunity. Knowing how to protect your car from theft is about minimizing those opportunities whenever you can.
Finally, preventing car theft is often easier with late-model vehicles than ones that were made 10 or 20 years ago. But you can still take action even if you can’t afford to upgrade your vehicle in the middle of a recession.
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