Auto theft is a big problem in most major metropolises and their surrounding areas. It doesn’t seem to be subsiding any time soon. In Vancouver, monthly statistics show a 23% increase in year-over-year motor vehicle theft. The same report shows a 44.9% increase in theft from a vehicle. Last year, nearly 80,000 cars were reported stolen in Canada. We want to help do something about these statistics, by reaching one car owner at a time.
Today, Park Insurance has arrived on the scene to make sure that your driveway or parking spot doesn’t become the scene of yet another automotive crime. We go beyond the bare minimum (lock your doors, install anti-theft devices, etc.) to identify tactics you may not have anticipated. Keep reading.
5 Key Steps to Protect Your Car from Break-Ins and Theft
1. Keep Unanticipated Valuables Out of Sight
You’re smart enough to know to never leave your purse, laptop, or other electronic device in plain view when parking your car. But remember, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and thus consider it all bait for a break-in. This includes the simplest of things. Sunglasses on the dash, a shopping bag in the backseat, a backpack, sports equipment, and everything in between. Next to your disposable cup of coffee there is nothing that is considered off limits from the prying eyes and hands of thieves.
2. Consider the Light
You know not to park in a lot without adequate lighting. However, you may arrive to find that the day shines bright on your spot. You park, and give it no thought. But how long do you plan on being away from your vehicle? That must be factored into each and every parking decision. A trip to the mall, theatre, or social venue can turn from an anticipated hour to four or more. All of a sudden, you find yourself leaving much later than expected, and the sun has now set. That bright spot where you parked is now a high target for thieves that are attracted to the dark. Ensure that you park near street and storefront lighting when parking in the late afternoon or early evening, to hedge your risk.
3. Park to Make a Quick Getaway Difficult
Most car thieves have one thing in mind before heading out for a day’s work. Get in, and get out as fast as possible. Locked doors and visible security system stickers are one thing, but if they see a vehicle that does not allow them to quickly flee after starting the ignition or attempting a tow (especially if they trigger the alarm for a brief moment) they will be deterred from stealing it. Park on an incline where possible, and visibly leave your car in park or in gear with the wheels turned toward the curb or other obstruction. The smallest thing can make a big difference when it comes to the psyche of a car thief.
4. Keep Your Vehicle Registration On-Person or Hidden Within
No matter how careful you are, an especially skilled car thief can steal your vehicle. Don’t let them get away with it, even if they have a head start. Imagine this scenario. You park your car, run an errand, and return to find it stolen. You report it right away. An officer an hour later pulls over a car that fits the description, but upon inspection finds that the driver (the thief) was able to produce the registration to the vehicle while simply stating that the vehicle is under a family member’s name. Granted, a diligent officer of the law will inspect further if the local theft has been reported within the hour, but why give the thief the opportunity to get out of jail free? Instead, keep your vehicle registration on you when practical, or come up with a great hiding place that only you and shared drivers know about.
5. Be Mindful of that Vehicle
You shouldn’t have to consider trading in your vehicle for another to abate the threat of automobile theft. But when you look at the statistics, the results are staggering. In 2015, the top 10 stolen cars in Canada were all varying years of the Ford f-350 or Ford f-250, with one exception. This trend was most evident right here in British Columbia. If you own this sought-after truck, be especially mindful of the above tips to protecting your car from theft.