Updated: Mar 31, 2022
With the recent uptick of vehicle burglaries that has been prominent in the news, its important that you take steps to protect yourself and your valuables from theft.
One of the most infuriating things that can happen to a car owner – and it’s one of the most common forms of crimes in the U.S. is known as the “smash-and-grab” car break-in. They don’t even steal your whole car, just the valuable items in it – which you then have to painstakingly replace while dealing with the arduous and costly car-repair process.
While there’s no way to 100% deter these kinds of thieves, there are some common-sense steps you can take to make your vehicle a much less appealing target. Above all, thieves look for opportunities. Make them “work” for their stolen prizes, and they’ll most likely just forget it and move on to an easier target.
Theft prevention starts before you even leave your vehicle
Smash-and-grab thieves typically aren’t criminal masterminds, most are casual opportunists. They see something they like, so they break in and take it. So before you get out of your car, make sure your valuables are out of sight. Never leave these things lying out on your seats, dashboard or floor:
Purse or wallet
Laptop (or its bag)
A briefcase or backpack
An MP3 player or other small electronics
CDs (if you still use them)
Cash – yes, even loose change/coins
Car smash-and-grabs happen out of sight
Most thieves go solo. The last thing they want is a crowd of onlookers with cell phones and pepper spray ready. So try to keep your car highly visible:
Park near other people. Go for busy lots where there’s plenty of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
If you'll be away from your car after dark, park in a well-lit area or near a lamppost.
Choose a lot with an attendant over one without.
Discourage thieves with anti-theft measures
Thieves are also lazy. With car break-ins, they’re usually not looking for a huge payoff. What this type of thief wants is a quick thrill – or maybe a little extra revenue – for as little work as possible. By making your car a harder target for these people, you make it less desirable. So:
Always lock your doors and roll up your windows when you park.
Activate your security system if you have one.
Use after-market measures, like mechanisms that lock the steering wheel to protect your car and alert thieves that you've taken extra security measures.
Don’t use the console or glove box as mobile lock boxes. These are obvious to thieves, too.
Beware a watchful eye
While your trunk is better than the passenger compartment for shopping bags and laptops, an experienced thief will often stake out a parking lot and watch you transfer your things there. So before you even get to where you’ll be leaving your car unattended, move your valuables to the trunk or wherever they’re out of sight.
Be alert for signs of car thieves
See suspicious activity? Trust your instincts and don't park there. And never confront anyone yourself. If you're concerned, report your suspicions to an attendant, your security team, and/or the police.
Protect yourself and your valuables. Take a moment to consider some of the above items to implement today!