According to Geico, there are many car theft prevention devices on the market: a mechanism that locks onto the steering wheel, ignition cut-off systems that prevent a car from starting, and passive alarms that activate automatically when the key is removed from the ignition.
However, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to keep your car safe. Here are a few tips to help ward off thieves:
Hide your valuables. You take good care of your car, so what thief could resist it? Don’t make your car look any more desirable by leaving your Coach purse, Nike shoes, iPod, phone, or wallet within plain sight of people walking by. Always take your valuables inside with you. If you can’t, put them in the trunk or hide them underneath your seats.
Put your car in the garage. Parking your vehicle inside protects it from thieves as well as from thunderstorms, hail, and wind. Even if you park in your garage, Fox 42 suggests that you lock your car doors. By locking both the garage and vehicle doors, you have doubled your chances of deterring a thief.
Lock your doors. This seems like a pretty obvious tip, but often, people don’t lock their doors. They figure they are only going inside for a few minutes. They also assume that their car is safe when it is parked in their driveway. The thief might not have enough time to take your car, but he will have enough time to steal your purse, iPod, or phone from the passenger’s seat. As a rule, you should always have your car doors locked, even when you are driving. That way, no one can get in if you don’t want them to.
Don’t leave your keys in the ignition. This goes hand-in-hand with the last tip. Again, this may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people leave the car running with the keys in the ignition while they run inside on a quick errand. Even if you are in the safest, best neighborhood of your city, it’s never a good idea to leave your car keys in the ignition. It only takes one wrong person to see it and make off with your car.
Park in a safe spot. Thieves like to work in the dark where they are less likely to be seen. Whenever possible, make sure you park in a well-lit spot in a safe neighborhood. If you have to park in a parking lot, try to park near the periphery—you want a lot of pedestrians or traffic going by.
The sad truth is that every forty-five seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States. If it happens to you, immediately contact the police and file a stolen vehicle report. Next, contact your insurance company to submit a theft claim. If you locate your vehicle before the authorities do, notify the police and your insurance company as soon as possible.
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