The top two months for vehicle theft are July and August, so it is no surprise that July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 750,000 vehicles were stolen in 2017, costing vehicle owners more than $6 billion. The most common car models stolen include Honda Accord, Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Camry. The NHTSA also states that almost half of vehicle theft is a result of driver error. But the good news is that there are preventative steps you can take as a vehicle owner. From safe parking habits to using the Silent Beacon wearable panic button, you can keep your vehicle protected. Check out these car anti-theft devices and tips to prevent vehicle theft.
While it sounds simple, this is one of the easiest steps to make it more difficult for someone to get into and steal your vehicle. Unlocked doors grant anyone full access to your car without setting off any anti-theft alarms. Practice locking your car doors the moment after you step out of your car, so it eventually becomes a habit. This includes when your vehicle is in your garage! There have been reports of cars being stolen from garages with families sitting just feet away in their homes.
It is also safest to immediately lock your doors once you get into your vehicle. And start driving to prevent any person outside your car from opening the doors.
Silent Beacon is a wearable panic button that calls any number including 911 while sending multiple contacts your live GPS location. If you notice suspicious activity around your car or a surrounding vehicle, just push the Silent Beacon button to alert emergency personnel and your designated contacts. You can also disable the LED lights and audio to silently notify your emergency contacts without drawing attention to yourself and revealing that you’ve activated the Silent Beacon. To stay alert and safe with Silent Beacon in a car emergency, look out for anyone loitering in parking lots, individuals looking into cars or people with tools, such as a crowbar.
Some vehicle owners keep a spare key underneath their car, in their glove compartment or in their middle console. Vehicle thieves are aware of this practice, and they know exactly where to look for what they need. It is better to keep an extra key in a discreet part of your home. While it may not be convenient if you get locked out of your car in a different location, it is safer than exposing your vehicle keys to potential thieves.
Whether you are quickly picking up a food takeout order or stopping at a gas station for a road trip bathroom break, you should always turn your vehicle off. Take your keys with you and lock your doors when leaving your car. An unattended car that is already running is the perfect target for a vehicle thief.
When choosing a parking spot, look for open spaces under lamp posts or near a pedestrian-heavy area. Vehicle thieves may turn away from cars on busy streets or brightly-lit areas because they can easily be seen. Cars in dimly-lit areas are targets because it is more difficult for witnesses or cameras to identify what is going on and who is stealing the car. To further deter any car thieves, turn your wheels into the curb when parking on a road to make it more difficult to quickly drive off. In public parking lots, avoid leaving your car on the outskirts of the lot. Instead, park near the entrance of the building where there most likely is a surveillance system. Additionally, parking in your driveway, as opposed to the main road, is safer, as vehicle thieves are less likely to target cars that are closer to homes.
While vehicle thieves aim to steal car parts such as radios and engines, they also are looking for common valuable items that are left in cars, like smartphones, laptops and GPS devices. When you exit your vehicle, always take your valuable items no matter where you’re going. If it is absolutely necessary to leave the items in your car, lock them in the trunk where they will be unseen and hard to reach. Additionally, messy cars attract vehicle thieves who want to see if there are any items in your car worth taking.
The hot sun baking our cars during the summer is a nuisance. But always remember to close the windows and sunroof completely before leaving your car. Just like taking your keys with you whenever you exit your vehicle. Make sure all your windows are completely rolled up. Partially-opened windows make it easier for car thieves to unlock your car from the inside and gain access to the full interior of your car.
Most cars come with an audible alarm system that will set off the car’s horn if someone tries to enter the vehicle while the alarm is on. The loud noise may be enough to scare a thief, but car anti-theft devices provide an extra layer of security. These devices include steering wheel locks, kill switches, and window alarms. Some people even use baby monitors to act as cameras for car theft prevention devices. While these devices can be deactivated, most thieves will likely see it as a waste of time and leave your car alone.
Car tracking systems, also known as vehicle recovery systems, can be installed to record your vehicle’s live GPS location. Most systems also come with a window sticker that states the car has a tracker, acting as a thief deterrent. If your car is stolen, a tracking system will help police to recover your vehicle and find the perpetrator.
Despite the fact that driver error is a common leading factor to vehicle theft, there are ways you can prevent car theft. During Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, protect your car with common sense habits, Silent Beacon and anti-theft systems.