Car thefts are among the most expensive types of crime people commonly encounter in the United States. According to authorities, the average cost of automotive theft is approximately $8,886 per incident. Even worse, the average rate of car theft is at almost 220 incidents for every 100,000 people. These costs can be a major inconvenience to a lot of people and cripplingly expensive to a vast majority. Not to mention the inconvenience of filing your insurance claims, the loss of devices, and the loss of mobility given by the car.
If you want to reduce the risk of your car getting broken into or being stolen entirely, you need to learn the common types of car thieves. You also need to know how to increase your car’s protection from such crimes.
Types of Car Thieves
There are multiple types of theft involving vehicles. Some of them involve taking the entire car itself and others are more aimed at objects inside the car. Learning about which types of criminals your car will most likely attract will be important in dissuading them.
- Professional Car Thieves
Professional car thieves are interested in either selling your stolen vehicle or breaking them down into parts in chop shops. Since they’re after your entire vehicle, sight-reducing techniques such as having a reputable tint shop darken your windows won’t be enough. They’re more likely to be dissuaded by complex security systems and actual preventative methods like guards. If you drive an upscale car, your vehicle will most likely be a target.
Some people don’t want to take your car for parts but to drive it around, whether for casual entertainment or daredevil, reckless races. These joyriders pose a danger to your vehicle and other people. They could drive your car into a post during their wild rides or even injure pedestrians or other drivers. Joyriders are often opportunistic, targeting high-performance cars or cool cars, like high-profile vehicles, for their entertainment.
- Object Theft
The most opportunistic of these criminals are simply thieves who are more interested in the contents of your car than the vehicle itself. Perhaps they want to pilfer your electronics, salvage a few parts from your car, or steal valuables. They can be easily dissuaded by using common sense and basic preventative measures.
How to Protect Your Car
You can dissuade all the aforementioned types of criminals by employing different methods for securing your vehicle. Some of them only involve common sense, while others employ more elaborate methods. Using a few or all of these tips in tandem will greatly reduce the risk of your car getting broken into.
- Hide Contents
First and foremost, give thieves no reason to break into your car. Do not leave valuables inside your car, such as laptops or handbags. Even if you’re only stepping out of your vehicle for a few minutes, hide them from sight by stuffing them under the seat or inside the glove compartment. You can also increase the tint on your windows to make it harder to see inside.
- Keep it Locked
It may seem like common sense, but so many people think that they’ll only be gone a few minutes and don’t need to lock their car doors. Even if you’re only taking groceries into your house or popping by the ATM, locking your car door should be instinctual.
- Park in Public Places
Resist the urge to park your car in a secluded spot or a darkened alley, not even when parking spots are hard to come by. Public locations make it extremely difficult for casual thieves to break into your car because the chances of law enforcement or pedestrians spotting them goes higher. Park inconspicuous and public places as much as you can.
- Install Location Tracking
A lot of upscale cars automatically come with emergency GPS devices that allow you to lock into your vehicle’s location should it ever be stolen. However, other less expensive vehicles may not come with such amenities and you’ll have to install them yourself. If such location tracking machinery is still too expensive for you, you can buy a second-hand smartphone and turn on its GPS. Whenever you leave the house, charge this smartphone and hide it somewhere in your vehicle. Should your car be stolen, you can locate it by finding the phone.
- Remote Open Nearby
Don’t be too complacent just because your car opens remotely. High-tech thieves can steal and duplicate the radio signal from your key fob from a considerable distance. This is why you should open the car door remotely only when you’re close to the vehicle. Before you do, keep an eye out for suspicious loiterers who may be waiting for you to do so. Avoid opening it remotely if you can.
Car theft can change your life, even if you have insurance. The inconvenience and distress caused by such a loss can be devastating. Protect your vehicle as much as you can, so you can enjoy your life with as little trouble as possible.