In 2021, nationwide, there were around 740,000 car break-ins reported to the police, and nearly as many car thefts, at about 720,000. Put together, that means there are three major car crimes per minute in the United States. To help prevent you from becoming a part of these statistics, here are six simple strategies GoJoe Patrol recommends to keep your car and valuables safe.
1. Park in the Light
In a recently published study, former burglars offered some insightful perspectives on their methods that most property owners can apply to avoid break-ins. One thing these criminals mentioned repeatedly was that they avoided attempting a break-in where there was good lighting. As you might expect, almost all burglaries happen under the cover of darkness. Consequently, one of the greatest deterrents to vehicle crime is very simple: park in good light, or install a motion-sensor light for your home or work parking space.
2. Cover, Disguise, or Hide Valuables
Something valuable sitting in plain view in your vehicle is almost an invitation to crime. Nearly all break-ins happen because a criminal sees something inside a vehicle, such as a laptop computer, tablet, or an easy-to-remove expensive music system. Because car thieves depend on perpetrating their crimes quickly, they are more likely to avoid the risk of getting caught if they would have to hunt around for something to steal.
If you must leave something valuable in your car, put it in the trunk or even in a spare tire well–and don’t put it there when someone can observe you doing it. Short of that, at least put it on the floor and throw a cover over it. Bags, purses, and briefcases are premium targets: don’t let them be seen. Tinted windows also help, but the clear windshield will still show anything left behind in plain view. Be cautious and creative!
Also, be aware that, if you park in the same place at work or school, criminals may have already noticed your belongings and your car, and know what you have, even if you hide it. Don’t let criminals canvass your car easily, particularly if you know your car will be vulnerable at night.
3. For Older Vehicles, Install a Car Alarm
A standard car alarm is designed to go off if a car is broken into. Needless to say, thieves do not want attention when they are committing a crime, so any loud noise from your alarm will likely scare off a thief and alert sympathetic onlookers. For many car alarms, you can increase its sensitivity, so that it will activate if someone just tries to open the doors while it is locked.
4. Night-Time Blinking Lights
Most vehicle alarms, dash cameras, or other vehicle security devices show a blinking blue or red LED when activated. If your vehicle shows a blinking LED on the dash, thieves will assume you have a security device and will likely choose an easier target for their crime. Not many will bother to determine whether you have an expensive alarm, or just a $12 solar-powered blinking LED from Amazon.
5. A Warning Sticker
A lot of vehicles come with or have warning stickers on the windows, indicating that the car is protected by a security device. While the sticker alone is not always enough to deter a crime, it is one more tool in your arsenal of protection, and purchasing an easy-to-see security system sticker or decal is an easy and cheap way to give pause to would-be thieves.
6. One More!
Car prowlers have all the tools they need to break into your car, and can do a “smash and grab” on your vehicle in under 30 seconds. Don’t tell yourself that you will “only be a moment” when leaving things in your car: will you really be back in less than 30 seconds? Consequently, one last thing you can do to protect yourself is: slow down and think before you leave your car, and do what is necessary to avoid being the victim of a car crime.
And remember: if a crime happens, report it. Police forces across the nation consistently ask that these and any other crimes be reported, so that they can track crime patterns and allocate resources to where they are needed most. Help yourself and help your community by letting the police know where and when criminal activity is happening.
Finally, if you work or live in an area that is having high incident rates of break-ins, call GoJoe Patrol today. We can dispatch randomly timed patrols through your area day and night, sending the message for thieves to move along and pick another spot. We offer this service for 30 days or 365 days, depending on what you need. We customize all our security options to suit you. GoJoe Patrol provides peace of mind, because we take violations of your privacy and your property seriously.