I remember being made aware of car theft and burglary for the first time. I was in junior high. The city I lived in was experiencing a sudden uptick in both crimes, so the local police and news media were doing everything they could to inform local residents about the steps they could take to prevent being victimized.
That was a long time ago. I am now in my late 50s, but the old ways of preventing car theft and burglary still work.
Do an internet search on how to protect your car from burglary and theft. You will notice the same tips being repeated over and over again. It is not because content creators have run out of original ideas. It’s because car burglary and theft are two crimes that haven’t changed much over the last 50 years.
Sure, criminals have had to change some of their tactics to accommodate technological advances. But the fundamental crimes remain the same. Likewise for the tools people can employ to combat criminals.
Locking the Doors Still Works
Every time there is a string of car burglaries where I currently live, the local police come out with a reminder to lock our car doors whenever we’re not driving. We should be locking our car doors at night. We should lock them when we go into a restaurant or shopping center. The car doors should be locked while we are working.
If you think that locked doors will not stop a truly determined criminal, you are right. But don’t forget that criminals don’t like drawing attention to themselves. They also do not want to work hard for what they have.
They want the easy way out. Finding a car with locked doors means one of two things: smash the windows or move on to another target. Which is easier?
Again, there are some criminals willing to smash the windows. But they need motivation to do so, which leads to the next tip we hear so often.
Don’t Leave Valuables in the Car
Criminals might be willing to smash a car’s windows if they can see valuables inside. Christmas is fast approaching, so let us use the annual holiday shopping season as an example. Imagine you are out shopping.
You leave five or six bags in the back seat while you head into the next store on your list. A criminal walking by can clearly see those bags. That might be enough motivation to smash your windows.
This is why law enforcement constantly reminds us to not leave valuables in the car. If you have valuables with you and you cannot take them indoors, lock them in the trunk. At the very least, that will keep them out of sight. If a criminal still wants to break in, getting into your trunk will be a bit harder.
Parking Choices Matter
Something else law enforcement constantly reminds us to do is park our cars in well-lit areas. There is good reason for this. Car burglaries and thefts are more likely to occur during the overnight hours simply because there are fewer people out and about.
By parking in well-lit areas, we make it harder for burglars and car thieves to do what they do under the cover of darkness. We could go further with this thinking by saying that all your parking choices matter. If you need proof, look no further than car insurance.
Your car insurance company might offer a discount for parking your car in a garage overnight. Garage parking makes your car more inaccessible then it would be parked in the driveway. That means a lower risk of both burglary and theft.
Street parking is the worst option in urban areas. In suburban America, the driveway isn’t much better. How many stories have you heard of small gangs of burglars roaming through suburban neighborhoods breaking into cars? It happens far too often.
There Are Smart Solutions
All the old strategies for preventing car theft and burglary are passed on today because they still work. But guess what? You can enhance those tried-and-true strategies with a little bit of technology. Consider what just one company, Vivint Smart Home, offers.
Vivint is a nationwide home automation and home security provider. They offer a vehicle security device that combines GPS tracking with security alerts and vehicle diagnostics. you could use it as a standalone device or integrate it with some of your other home security devices.
From a security alert perspective, the device can be programmed to send you an alert should anyone attempt to gain access to your vehicle without authorization. But a criminal doesn’t even have to break in. Merely disturbing your car is usually enough to trigger an alert.
Built-in GPS capabilities make it possible to track your car virtually anywhere. So in the event someone does steal it, you can always know where it is in real time. Law enforcement can use the data to track down your car quickly.
Home Security Integration
Integrate your car security device with your home security system and you get access to additional features. You could program your system so that an alarm triggered by your vehicle security device could automatically turn on exterior video cameras to provide real-time views of your driveway, yard, etc.
As an added bonus, you could take advantage of geofencing to trigger all sorts of smart home functions as you leave home and return later in the day. It really is amazing what modern technology can do using your car as an integrated device.
Remember though, you do not need technology to reduce the risk of car theft or burglary. All the old strategies still work.
The idea is to make it as difficult as possible for a criminal to either break into your car or steal it. The harder it is to do without getting caught, the less likely criminals are to try it. That is the most important lesson in all of this.