Oliver Raffles, Executive Chronicles | As per FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), approximately 707,758 motor theft cases were registered across the United States in 2015. The total loss amounted to over $4.9 billion.
Even though the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) witnessed an overall drop in other property related crimes, the vehicle theft rate never reduced to the level of becoming negligible. In fact, NICB claimed that the vehicle theft cases rose by 6.6% in the first half of 2015 – as compared to the same period in 2014.
On the other hand, NICB also attributed the decline in vehicle thefts to anti-theft technologies and smart security measures that have kept the criminals at bay, but have certainly made them smarter. These carjackers are tech savvy and use newer and more sophisticated techniques to commit the crime. They even have the expertise to handle the rental fleets or falsify the ownership titles.
You might be surprised to know that 33% of theft cases occur near the owner’s residence while 20% of them happen in the parking lots! The numbers are appalling and yet act as reminders for us to play our parts in protecting our vehicles.
Take a look at the following pointers to protect your car from theft:
- Lock and Keep the Keys
Always lock your car while parking or stepping away from it. Ensure to roll up the windows as well as the sunroof.
Never ever leave your keys behind even if they are the spare ones. Most people hide the spare keys under the wheel-well for the fear of getting locked out of their car. Remember – a criminal mind knows exactly where to search.
Also, do not hand your keys to anyone you don’t trust and avoid writing your details on the keychain. You don’t want the thieves to take an impression of your car keys or come to your place if your keys are lost.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
A dark, unmonitored or isolated parking lot or gas station makes your car vulnerable to thefts.
Always opt for off-street and well-lit parking spaces with good visibility and public presence. This is important even for your own safety as criminals usually attack in the dark and are wary of public spaces. If you have a garage access, ensure to lock both your car and the garage locks properly.
- Maintain Your Garage Security
Maintaining your garage is equally important not only to keep your vehicle safe, but also to prevent any further invasion to your house and property.
Automate the garage security system with break-in alarms and motion detectors. Use timers to automatically shut down the doors incase you forget to close it yourself. Install a good-quality deadbolt and use a lock reinforcer to avoid any splitting even during brutal attacks. Also, ensure that the garage doors too are made up of sturdy materials.
- Carry or Hide Your Valuables
Sometimes it’s not just a car that the thief is looking for. Things like iPads, wallets, cellphones, bags, cases etc. also catch their attention. It doesn’t take much time for them to smash your car window and getaway with your stuff.
So do not leave anything in the car if you are stepping out. Carry your valuables or hide them under the seat or in the trunk from where they aren’t visible.
- Make Use of Anti Theft devices.
The anti-theft devices act as a deterrent. Installing external steering and tyre locks, vehicle immobilizers to prevent hot-wirings, car alarms with motion or glass break sensors etc will make it difficult for the carjackers.
Implementing GPS technology will minimize the damages to your car by helping you and the authorities to track and recover it quickly.
See this infographic below which depicts the latest crime scene in the US with regards to auto theft: