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“Dude, Where’s My Car?”: Car Theft Prevention Tips

A couple of years ago, my daughter parked her car at a local store, opened the windows a bit so our beagle could get some fresh air, and proceeded inside to make a quick purchase.  When she returned, the window was opened even wider and her purse was gone!  She had left it on the front seat, easy pickins’ for anyone who cared to take it home.

Sometimes, we make it so easy for dishonest folks to take what doesn’t belong to them.  And that includes our vehicles.   According to the FBI, a vehicle is stolen every 40 seconds!  But a few simple precautions can prevent you from becoming one of these sad statistics.  We thought it was a good time to share some tips as a reminder, since many people will be taking to the road for summer vacations.

These tips are based on suggestions from the National Highway Safety Administration:

  1. Always lock your doors, even if you’re only stepping away for a minute. It only takes a second to steal a car.
  2. Do not leave your keys in the ignition!  And leaving your car running unattended just screams: “Steal me!”
  3. Take all valuables such as purses, your GPS or money with you when you leave your car, and if you can’t, then tuck them out of sight.  A thief could not resist my daughter’s purse, and he or she could have easily gone the next step and taken the car (and the beagle!) as well.
  4. Roll up your windows when no one is in your car.
  5. Park with your wheels turned towards the curb and use your emergency brake to make your vehicle more difficult to tow away.
  6. Etch your vehicle identification number on car windows and major parts. This makes vehicles and parts more easily traceable when stolen.
  7. Hiding a spare key under the car is a bad idea.  Car thieves know about that hiding place, too.
  8. Park in a well-lighted, public place when running errands.  To protect you and your car, avoid unattended areas, especially at night.
  9. Install a car alarm. Nothing deters a thief like flashing lights and loud noises!
  10. Many late-model cars have smart keys or a fuel cut-off system.  Thieves may not steal a car they can’t start!

None of these precautions will guarantee that your car will not be stolen, but they may slow a thief down.  We hope you stay safe and never have to utter that desperate question made famous by a  Twentieth Century Fox Movie in 2000: “Dude, where’s my car????!”

What car safety tips do you practice?

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