Why Do Parked Cars All Have Their Trunks Open?

If you’ve been cruising through the Golden City some call San Francisco, you may have noticed something odd about parked cars. Many have their truck lids open. Isn’t that an invitation for car break-ins? 

Do open trunks reduce car break-ins?

car break-ins
Thief stealing old car equipment | Getty

It is, but it isn’t. There has been a rash of car break-ins in and around the city, and in Oakland too. It’s so bad it has caused car owners to try to figure out how to stop them. Some owners have tried cleaning out their cars and opening all of their car windows. 

Others purposely kept their cars unlocked to avoid smashed windows. What some are doing now is to take this one step further. They’re popping their trunks lids open as a sign that there is nothing to take inside. 

Car break-ins have risen 32 percent in 2021

Car theft
Illustration of car theft | Getty

In 2021, car break-ins have risen by 32 percent so far in the Bay area over 2020. Car burglaries have shot up 25 percent. In Oakland, both car break-ins and auto theft have risen 27 percent year over year.  

Oakland’s Deputy Police Chief Drennon Lindsey told local KGO-TV that car thieves are getting more advanced. “Even if you think I’m just going to put my laptop in my trunk… if it’s on, they have the technology to detect it in the car,” she said. “Even if it’s hidden.”

Open trunks as a deterrent could backfire

car break-ins
Police looking in a car trunk in 1952 | Getty

But now some are warning that this latest tactic could backfire. SFPD Deputy Chief Garret Tom told KGO that this could just be an invitation for even more theft or damage. “They could steal your batteries, your tires,” he said. “They could go into your glove compartment and find out where you live.” So maybe leaving your car open isn’t such a good idea? 

Oakland’s mayor is now suggesting buying security cameras pointed at the street or driveway as a way to warn thieves they are being watched. Then register them with your local police department. This way the police know where security cameras are located and can contact you if they need any video footage. The police will only use the footage after getting permission from the owner. 

Always file a police report

Car theft
Burglary and car theft | Getty

It is also recommended that if your car is burglarized, you should file a police report. It increases the chances the thieves will be caught. Also, it notifies the police who will usually respond with an increase in patrols in that area. 

Police can identify crime hotspots, which allows them to be more strategic with staffing and patrols. They can conduct more effective operations, respond more rapidly to crimes in progress, and serve as a visual deterrent. 

“Don’t leave valuables in the car, don’t even tuck things under your seat,” Lindsey says.

RELATED: Is a Cheaper Car Less Likely to Get Stolen?