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Not finding your car where you parked it can be frightening. Unfortunately, it’s turning into an all too common experience. Car safety is gaining more traction owing to the rise in auto theft. Thieves are becoming increasingly savvy, using technology to steal vehicles and changing vehicle identification numbers to avoid getting caught. According to the 2020 National Insurance Crime Bureau report, a car gets stolen every 36 seconds. So, then how can you prevent car theft?

The importance of preventative measures

Someone sitting in a car that could have potentially been an opportunity to prevent car theft.
Sketchy person sitting in a car | Getty Images

Learning measures you can take to deter auto thieves is so much easier than tracking your vehicle down once it has disappeared. Given how smart vehicle thieves have become, it is almost impossible to find a stolen car. If you are lucky to find yours, it may take decades.

The faster a thief can get away with your vehicle, the more attractive it is to them. Therefore, any measures you can take to slow down professional auto thieves can go a long way in ensuring car safety. Here are six things you can do to prevent car theft.

1. Protect your keys

As a rule of thumb, never leave your keys in the ignition because a thief can easily break the window and take off with your vehicle. While it may seem obvious, always double-check that you have your keys in your pocket or bag before you walk away to run errands or grab something quick. 

Also, do not put your keys in the lockbox under the vehicle – professional thieves always know where to look. Never leave your keys unattended. If left carelessly, a key fob can easily let a thief know where you’ve parked your car, even in a crowded parking lot.

2. Locking it up could prevent car theft

Sometimes, thieves steal cars because they can. They are always looking for an easy target. People may study your routine to find the perfect opportunity to steal your vehicle. However, you will discourage them if you habitually roll up your windows, double-check that the doors are locked, and carry your keys with you every time you step out of your car.

3. Buy a car alarm if there is not one on it

The last thing a thief wants is to attract the attention of neighbors and passers-by. A smart car alarm is an effective last line of defense that can help deter a thief or attract curious onlookers. The best thing about this technology is that you do not need to be within earshot of your vehicle to know something is wrong.

4. Park carefully

According to Newsweek, most vehicles are stolen from above-ground lots and street parking. If possible, park your car in a locked garage and store the garage door opener safely. But if you cannot keep your vehicle in a secure garage, ensure you park in well-lit parking near other cars and an area with high pedestrian traffic.

5. Utilize anti-theft devices 

Thieves hate a challenge. Investing in something as simple as a steering wheel lock can send them off to the next car. Whereas having anti-theft devices will not deter a determined thief, most will opt for a vehicle that’s easy to break into. Other anti-theft systems include cut-off ignition systems, passive alarms, and GPS trackers, to mention a few.

6. Hiding valuables could prevent car theft

A common way to attract thieves to your car is to leave valuable items in a visible area of the vehicle. It would be best if you left your valuables at home. However, if you have to take something important with you, remember to keep it out of sight. As Firestone explains, you should put all your valuables in the trunk before you get to your destination because some thieves move around parking lots looking for individuals who are moving their valuables to the trunk so they can break in when they leave.

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