Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen

By Insurance.com Posted : 03/06/2007
Do you want to keep your car from being stolen? A longtime highway patrol officer indicates that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to protecting your vehicle from thieves.

Make your "car inconvenient to thieves," advises Kevin Kelly, traffic safety specialist for the California State Automobile Association and a 25-year veteran with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

For starters, Kelly urges motorists to "lock your cars and take your keys" ... and for good reason. "Car theft is a real crime of opportunity," contends Kelly. "When the bad guys see an easy mark, they'll take it."

Kelly points out that car thieves usually are in a big rush and they prefer not to be too obvious. That also applies to unsavory characters that might break into your car to steal the radio and other contents.

Kelly offers various other tips designed to head off car thieves.

  • Close car windows and the sunroof when parking your car.
  • Don't leave a spare car key in the vehicle, because, Kelly warns, car thieves "know where to look."
  • Keep in your possession your vehicle registration, proof of insurance, etc. "Your vehicle pink slip should be kept wherever you keep your valuable papers - (and) not in your wallet."
  • Leave nothing with your name and address, social security number or other personal information in your vehicle.
  • Make photocopies of vehicle registration, proof of insurance and other important information for other drivers in your immediate family to carry.
  • Don't leave your car with the motor running. A car left unattended and with the motor running is an open invitation to a thief. "Sometimes people on a cold morning warm up the car then race back inside to gather their belongings for work, then come out and find there vehicle is gone."
  • Your car is safer in your driveway than on the street; but it's even safer in a locked garage.
  • Park your vehicle on a well-lighted street and in well-traveled place if possible.
  • Turn car wheels sharply toward or away from the curb and set the brake.
  • Leave your car parked in first gear or in reverse if your car has a manual transmission. Use the parking gear if you have an automatic transmission.
  • Don't tempt thieves by leaving items in plain sight on car seats or on the floor.
  • Burglar alarms and steering wheel locks, such as The Club, may help keep out thieves.

Kelly speaks from personal experience about the value of car alarms and steering wheel locks. "A lot of people ignore car alarms. However, I caught a couple of thefts in progress, said Kelly who revealed what attracted his attention. "I heard the alarm go off momentarily, then suddenly stop when the wires were disconnected. Car thieves don't like noise. Devices like The Club are useful, and I have one in my (company) van.

"You have a better chance of not having your vehicle stolen if it isn't one of the vehicles that are very popular with auto thieves," notes Kelly. However, he warns that you're not entirely safe from vehicle theft even if you drive an old, beat-up car. "Having a crummy car is no protection (because) thieves may steal a car only for its parts."

If your automobile gets stolen, Kelly recommends that you report the incident quickly. "Don't wait around on that. The more information you supply to law enforcement, the better."

Kelly believes that auto theft victims should report a vehicle's make, model, and year; license number; vehicle identification number (VIN); tire brands and their serial numbers; special equipment such as a sunroof; and identifying marks including dents and bumper stickers.

Do you want to keep your car from being stolen? A longtime highway patrol officer indicates that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to protecting your vehicle from thieves.

Make your "car inconvenient to thieves," advises Kevin Kelly, traffic safety specialist for the California State Automobile Association and a 25-year veteran with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

For starters, Kelly urges motorists to "lock your cars and take your keys" ... and for good reason. "Car theft is a real crime of opportunity," contends Kelly. "When the bad guys see an easy mark, they'll take it."

Kelly points out that car thieves usually are in a big rush and they prefer not to be too obvious. That also applies to unsavory characters that might break into your car to steal the radio and other contents.

Kelly offers various other tips designed to head off car thieves.

  • Close car windows and the sunroof when parking your car.
  • Don't leave a spare car key in the vehicle, because, Kelly warns, car thieves "know where to look."
  • Keep in your possession your vehicle registration, proof of insurance, etc. "Your vehicle pink slip should be kept wherever you keep your valuable papers - (and) not in your wallet."
  • Leave nothing with your name and address, social security number or other personal information in your vehicle.
  • Make photocopies of vehicle registration, proof of insurance and other important information for other drivers in your immediate family to carry.
  • Don't leave your car with the motor running. A car left unattended and with the motor running is an open invitation to a thief. "Sometimes people on a cold morning warm up the car then race back inside to gather their belongings for work, then come out and find there vehicle is gone."
  • Your car is safer in your driveway than on the street; but it's even safer in a locked garage.
  • Park your vehicle on a well-lighted street and in well-traveled place if possible.
  • Turn car wheels sharply toward or away from the curb and set the brake.
  • Leave your car parked in first gear or in reverse if your car has a manual transmission. Use the parking gear if you have an automatic transmission.
  • Don't tempt thieves by leaving items in plain sight on car seats or on the floor.
  • Burglar alarms and steering wheel locks, such as The Club, may help keep out thieves.

Kelly speaks from personal experience about the value of car alarms and steering wheel locks. "A lot of people ignore car alarms. However, I caught a couple of thefts in progress, said Kelly who revealed what attracted his attention. "I heard the alarm go off momentarily, then suddenly stop when the wires were disconnected. Car thieves don't like noise. Devices like The Club are useful, and I have one in my (company) van.

"You have a better chance of not having your vehicle stolen if it isn't one of the vehicles that are very popular with auto thieves," notes Kelly. However, he warns that you're not entirely safe from vehicle theft even if you drive an old, beat-up car. "Having a crummy car is no protection (because) thieves may steal a car only for its parts."

If your automobile gets stolen, Kelly recommends that you report the incident quickly. "Don't wait around on that. The more information you supply to law enforcement, the better."

Kelly believes that auto theft victims should report a vehicle's make, model, and year; license number; vehicle identification number (VIN); tire brands and their serial numbers; special equipment such as a sunroof; and identifying marks including dents and bumper stickers.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

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