As the temperature dips to the colder side we begin to fall into this convenient habit of starting our vehicles and letting them warm up. Often, we leave our keys inside and the vehicle running. This is an open invitation to any potential car thief. Every winter open ignition thefts (as they are referred to) increase due to wanting to get inside a warm vehicle before leaving our homes.
Want to make your vehicle less attractive to car thieves? The quicker a car thief can steal your vehicle, the more attractive it is. Anything you can do to slow down professional car thieves or joyriders, will make your vehicle a less appealing target.
What you can do
Here are some tips to help drivers protect their vehicles:
- Always keep your vehicle locked, even while driving.
- When parked, never leave your keys in the car. Close all the windows and the sunroof.
- Never leave your car running and unattended, and unlocked.
- Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them.
- Do not leave your vehicle title in the car.
- Know where you’re going. Avoid known high crime areas even if the alternate route takes longer.
- Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one. Thieves are reluctant to steal vehicles if they know the cars can be recovered quickly. Many insurers offer discounts for the types of systems listed below.
- Thieves prefer to work in the dark. Be particularly cautious at night about where you park your car. Park it in a well-lit area if possible. If you have a garage use it to park your vehicle inside.
- Look around. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in parking garages, parking lots and gas stations.
- Have your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on each of the windows. Car thieves want to get off cheap. They don’t want to go to the expense of replacing all the glass.
- If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced; you can’t.
Types of anti-theft systems
- A mechanism that locks onto the steering wheel can be a very visible sign that you’ve taken steps to protect your vehicle.
- Ignition cut-off systems that prevent a car from being started.
- Some new cars come with passive alarms that activate automatically when the key is removed from the ignition.
- One system emits a signal that can be tracked by the police.
Who you’re dealing with?
Most of the time the people committing open ignition thefts are not the professional car thief who targets high-end expensive cars. They often are criminals who are motivated by the opportunity for a ride, a quick way to gain transportation. They might use the car to commit more crimes and eventually abandoned it. Please don’t be a victim. Always keep your car locked and never leave it running unattended.