For most of the day, one of your most valuable possessions is not secure. It sits out in the open, waiting for burglars to steal it. Even when you’re safe in your home or at work, your car is at risk of being stolen or vandalized. With a little thought and planning, your car can be more secure, wherever it sits.
One car is stolen every 44 seconds in the U.S. In 2011, only 11.9 percent of the auto thefts were solved. The only good news is that auto theft decreased a little more than 3 percent between 2010 and 2011, reports the FBI.
Why the Demand
While some of the auto thefts are due to amateur break-ins, most are done by professionals for a profit. Auto theft is big business. Why do they do it?
- To fulfill a contract from a buyer who wants the car
- To ship out of the country, typically to Mexico
- To take on a joy ride
- To use in another crime
- To be used for the parts
There is a big market for auto parts that drives many thefts. A car can be stripped of parts which, when sold, bring more than the car is worth on the market. There are more than 75,000 airbags stolen every year in the U.S., the Insurance Information Institute reports.
Common Spots for Auto Theft
Most car thefts are done where a large number of cars are left sitting. This includes your apartment parking lot, the shopping mall and outdoor business parking. Inside parking structures, places with valet parking and underground parking lots have fewer thefts. Any place that has a controlled entry and exit, such as a parking garage with a ticket booth, are too difficult for auto thieves to be inconspicuous.
Common Time for Auto Theft
Theft in shopping center parking lots happen during the day when several cars are sitting for long time. Apartment complexes see more thefts at night when most of the residents are home. An advantage of apartment parking lots for auto thieves is that they can case out the parking lot for just the right cars and mark their locations. Most renters have assigned spots, so the thief knows where the car will be when they come back in days or weeks to steal it.
Preventing Car Theft
If you notice someone walking through an apartment lot looking at the cars, contact the police. If you’re close to your unit and have a security system with a remotely triggered alarm, you can set the alarm off, and scare off the person. If you don’t have a security system or want to check on remote capabilities, http://www.securitycompanies.com features a myriad of security companies to speak with.
Never leave your car running unattended, and never leave your keys in the car. Roll up the windows, and shut the sunroof when not in the car. Never leave anything of value in sight. Lock items in the glove box or trunk. Use a steering wheel or brake lock to make it harder for thieves to move the car. Park in the most well-lit portion of the parking lot.
Just a little awareness and common sense will reduce your risk of car theft. Don’t let your car become one of the autos stolen every 44 seconds.
What tips do you have for keeping your car safe? Share them in the comments.