Do you know anyone who’s had their car stolen? Though it’s a fairly rare event, it does still happen, and the ripple effects can be far reaching. Car security measures are important because when a car is broken into, wallets, passports, and IDs might be included in the list of stolen goods, even if the thief had intended to simply go after cash or valuable objects like jewelry, watches, laptop computers, and sunglasses.
But if the perpetrator comes across your checkbook, wallet, phone, passport, or any other valuable item in your car during their adventures, they may think of committing a different kind of crime – identity theft. Presented with the opportunity, they might be tempted to write as many checks and take as much cash as they can from your bank account before you report the loss to the bank. They may even go shopping or make overseas calls and run up a 4-digit phone bill from your friendly wireless service provider.
Here are some tips to keep your car – and your money – safe from car thieves.
- Don’t leave your valuables in the car for an extended period of time. If you have to make short trips to make copies, take all the important documents and objects with you, or leave them for a very short period of time to reduce your risks. Never leave documents, purses, or wallets in the car. The trunk isn’t a safe place either—thieves always check here.
- Park your car in a secure, monitored, and private parking lot, away from visibility. A parking garage equipped with security systems and an on-site security attendant is ideal. Usually, private and smaller parking lots provide better security for their facilities.
- Try not to park your car in places like long-term airport parking. Such places are hardly ever monitored and thieves know that long-term parking provides the best opportunity, since the car owners are not coming back any time soon. When you have no other choice but to use long-term parking lots, be sure to empty your car of all important contents.
- Park your car in a well-lit area. It’s a little more challenging to break into a car under bright lights when you have to be very careful not to be seen.
- Park your car in a busy area. Don’t park it in an isolated area where there is no car or foot traffic in order to deter thieves. Again, you will make their working conditions challenging.
- Install a security system in your car. Make sure you have an electronic sound alarm, which may discourage thieves from further searching the car. The manual wheel lock might prevent them from steeling the car but will not discourage them from searching your car and stealing valuables. Use multiple warning devices, such as car alarms, steering wheel locks, and gear-shift locks.
- Help authorities. Consider etching your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on windows and engine parts so authorities can ID a car if it’s stolen.
- Use technology. Install GPS and immobilization devices, including smart keys and kill switches.