Locking your doors is just not enough to prevent your vehicle from being stolen. Don't let yourself be the next victim of a carjacking this busy Holiday season.
The Holiday season is upon us and while most people are talking about what they have to be grateful for, others are out there trying to take it from them. Auto theft is still a big issue throughout the United States and when a car is stolen it is often used for a more serious crime, like drug trafficking or as a get-away car in a robbery. Most people think that rolling up your windows and locking your doors are enough to stop you from being a car thief's next victim, but it's not.
Basic Policy to Help Prevent Car Theft
It's common sense that one of the most important things to do every time you exit your vehicle is to lock your doors, but there are many other things that are easy to do, and should be common knowledge.
- Always take your keys with you. Leaving your vehicle running while you are not in it – even just for a second – is basically a green light for a thief.
- Never leave your valuables in your vehicle. If you do happen to do this, you should always put them in your trunk or out of sight.
- When going somewhere: always park in a public, well-lit area, where there is always plenty of people around.
- Don't leave your personal information in the vehicle when you're not in attendance. This means even carrying your registration and insurance cards with you. You don't want a thief knowing your personal information – this will help you prevent identity theft also.
These are all things that we as drivers learned about in driver's training classes, or have heard throughout our years of experience behind the wheel, but unfortunately, they aren't things that we practice on a regular basis. Too often people leave their vehicles unlocked or their valuables in plain sight because they are at their own house and trust the neighborhood – don't do this. Even if you have lived in the same house your entire life, there is a chance that someone you don't know could be visiting a neighbor and see the chance to take off in your car.
Don't Be Afraid to Add Some Extra Protection
If you are driving an older used vehicle there is a chance that your car is not equipped with an electronic engine immobilizer. These come standard in almost all new cars, and usually have some sort of visual to warn a potential thief that they should back away now. If you don't have these devices you can buy an after-market device and have a mechanic install it on your vehicle. You can also:
- Invest in a device that is also known as a club or J-bar. These fit onto your steering wheel, column, or brake and will lock them into place.
- Get a boot. No, not the kind you wear in the winter, but the kind you put on your wheel that will prevent anyone from moving the vehicle. These are often used by lenders that need to repossess a vehicle.
If you know that you live in a high-theft area, or that you drive a car thief magnet, it's best to invest in some kind of device that will work better than just locking your doors. You can find lists of the most common stolen vehicles on the web, and if your vehicle is on that list – protect yourself further.
Carjacking is essentially the same as an auto theft, with one difference – it's taken by force while you are in the vehicle. Auto thefts are more commonly committed in the middle of the night, or while you're inside at a store, carjacking is the process of stealing a car while the owner is present. You can protect yourself from this by:
- Approaching the vehicle with your key already in your hand.
- Search your surroundings for anything that seems off or anyone that is hanging around your vehicle.
- Look in the vehicle and under it before stepping in, and as soon as you get in lock the doors and keep the windows up.
- Park in well-lit areas and close to your destination
- Be alert at intersections, ATMs, grocery stores and shopping malls. These are prime areas for a carjacking.
If you do happen to fall victim to this despite all your attempts, always give up the vehicle – especially if the perpetrator has a weapon. You vehicle is not worth getting injured over.
As We See It
There is no way to ever completely prevent a thief from taking what they want. If they want it bad enough they will find a way to get it, but you can certainly try to warn them off. Always practice the basic rules for keeping your vehicle safe, and if need be – buy more protection. Most auto insurance companies offer big discounts to customers that will go the extra mile to prevent auto theft, and who couldn't use a little extra cash in their pocket each month?
Unfortunately, thousands and thousands of people are victims to this every year and are left looking for a new car. Auto Credit Express is here to help you find your dream car no matter what your credit situation is. We have a network of dealerships throughout the United States that offers good credit and bad credit auto financing, and can get you into a new car that has all the safety features to help prevent this from happening to you again. To get started, fill out our online car loan application today.