What can we do about this growing criminal threat to our beloved cars?
During this COVID-19 national shutdown some people are really taking advantage of the situation. You might have noticed an increase in news stories about car thefts in your area, depending on where you live. Just a quick scan of local news stories shows problems from Kennick, Washington to Hartford, Connecticut, where thieves stole 27 vehicles in 24 hours. Car thefts are on the rise, causing enthusiasts to rightfully be concerned about protecting their beloved ride.
Thieves love to go after your car when they know you won’t be using it for an extended period of time. This has made hospital, university, mall, public transit, and movie theater parking lots popular spots for finding easy pickings. Unfortunately, with people staying off the road plenty of cars are just sitting day after day and criminals know this. That’s why the first thing you should do, if you can, is to park your car in a garage or other secured area. To make it extra secure, manually lock your garage door at night so nobody can hack the powered opener and get in.
Police in different areas say there’s one huge thing people can do to prevent car theft: lock their doors. It’s shocking how many vehicles are left with the doors completely unlocked, making the job far easier. In fact, some thieves just check door handles until they find one that’s open.
The next step is equally common sense: don’t leave your keys in the car. Again, putting your keys under the floormat, behind the sun visor, in the glovebox, etc. is just making steaking your ride incredibly easy. Also, don’t leave anything valuable sitting in your vehicle, because you’re just asking for someone to break in.
Beyond the obvious, if you can’t part in a secure, private area you should put your car where there’s plenty of lighting at night. If you’re really concerned, install a kill switch and hide it somewhere not obvious. You can also put a vehicle tracking system in your car, although that won’t usually deter theft, but if could help you get your beloved ride back after it’s stolen.
Sadly, car thefts have been on the rise even before the new coronavirus outbreak. As the Insurance Information Institute notes, about $6 billion was lost to vehicle theft in the US for 2018. The average loss per theft was $8,407. You don’t want to be in those statistics, so take the necessary steps to secure your cars now.
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