5 Practical Tips to Stop Car Break-Ins and Protect Your Valuables

While data gathered by the IIHS shows that car thefts have been trending downward in the last 26 years, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that the number of car thefts in 2020 totaled 873,080. That number marks a 9.2 percent increase compared with 2019, the IIHS says. The good news is that there are ways to stop car break-ins from happening. 

1. Stop car break-ins by keeping your car keys secured

When it comes down to it, one of the easiest ways to stop car break-ins is to keep your car keys secured at all times, CNET reports. That means taking your car keys with you when running errands, even if you don’t plan on being in the store for more than a minute or two. 

Don’t overlook your spare key, either. In fact, CNET reports that keeping your spare key secured is just as important as keeping your everyday car keys secured. Rather than storing your spare key in or outside of your car, protect your car from break-ins by keeping it safe and secure inside of your home.

2. Keeping your windows closed and doors locked can stop car break-ins

A suspicious individual lurking near a car with its windows and doors open at night, locking your car doors can help stop car break-ins
A car at night. | Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images

An open car window allows car thieves to break into your car. The same goes for an unlocked passenger or driver’s side door. That’s why, if you want to stop car break-ins, you need to keep your car’s windows closed and its doors locked at all times. The same goes even if your vehicle is parked in your very own driveway.

In fact, whenever you park your car, you should double-check to make sure your car’s doors are locked, and its windows are closed, Pop-A-Lock reports. “Thieves do not want to bust a window or pick a lock if they don’t have to, because the longer they spend at the car, the more likely it is that someone will see them,” Pop-A-Lock added.

3. Activating your car alarm can help prevent car break-ins

Chances are your car came equipped with a car alarm. If you’re hoping to stop car break-ins, activating your car’s car alarm is a great way to go about it, CNET reports. If someone tries to break into your car and the alarm is on, the alarm will cause the car to make a loud noise. For many thieves, the sound of a car alarm is the ideal deterrent.

If you’re not confident in your car alarm’s ability to stop car break-ins, consider investing in additional anti-theft measures. Pop-A-Lock recommends installing something like a steering wheel lock, an ignition cut-off, or even a window alarm. The company also recommends using a security system with two-way communication so that you will be notified via your smartphone anytime that the alarm goes off. 

4. Removing your valuables can help stop car break-ins

Not all car thieves are career criminals, Nationwide reports. In fact, many car thieves are nothing more than opportunists. Fortunately, there are a few different ways of preventing these opportunists from stealing items from your car. Not only should you be keeping your car locked at all times, but you should also be removing or hiding your valuables every time that you exit the car.

Leaving your valuables in view is a great way to attract car thieves, Nationwide reports. To stop car break-ins, be sure to hide or remove your phone, wallet, and bags from your car every time that you leave it. Nationwide also suggests stowing away items like laptops and shopping bags. 

5. Where you park can help stop car break-ins 

There are several ways to stop car break-ins. Whether that means keeping your car keys secured or your car’s doors and windows locked is up to you. The good news is that those aren’t the only ways to stop car break-ins. As a matter of fact, Nationwide reports that where you choose to park can also help stop car break-ins.

If you’re out and about, instead of parking in the lone spot across the lot, park in a busy lot with lots of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, Nationwide suggests. If you plan on returning to your car after dark, consider parking in an exceptionally well-lit area. And last but not least? If you can, Nationwide suggests parking in a lot with a parking lot attendant.

The smart way to protect your car from break-ins

There are plenty of ways to deter car thieves and stop car break-ins. In fact, these are just a few of the measures that you can take to keep your car protected. Nationwide also recommends keeping an eye out. If you see something unusual or suspect suspicious activity, don’t be afraid to report it to local authorities. 

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