Snapshot – Car thieves are getting smarter by the day. Evolution, you see, as they cannot ply their trade without being smarter than the smartest security systems. Net-net, your car can get stolen in a thousand ways, and yet some simple steps/precautions taken by you can greatly minimize the chance of your car being the chosen one to be broken into and driven away. Here are 5 common ways your car gets stolen and what you can do to prevent it.
Car thieves simply love cars with slightly open windows
Many owners keep the windows of parked cars slightly open to let some air inside the car. Such cars are jackpots for car thieves, who observe their quarries for a while before acting. A car window that’s open by just half an inch is enough leeway for a thief to take advantage and open the car’s door. Once the car’s door is opened, stealing a car is that much more easier. Even if the car itself isn’t stolen, parts inside the car, such as your stereo, battery, other valuables etc, can be severely compromised in such a situation.
How can you prevent this kind of theft?
Ensure that all the windows on your car are securely closed. Sometimes, the simplest precautions make the difference between losing one’s car to a thief and driving the thief away to other under-protected cars. Like they say, prevention is better than cure.
An unattended car with its engine running
Picture this, you’re near an ATM and want to withdraw cash. This usually will take you three to five minutes. So, you decide to keep your car idling before you jump out and grab that cash. Thievery is essentially a crime of opportunity and these minutes will be enough for a thief to just jump into your car and drive away. It’s all too easy and such thefts are quite common as there are plenty of people who leave their car running and unattended. So, never ever leave your car running and unattended, even if it is for less than five minutes.
Preventing this kind of theft.
It’s common sense really. Switch off your car’s engine. Lock your car and run your errand.
A car parked at unsecured/lonely locations
A car parked at an unsecured or a lonely location is a sitting duck for car thieves, who take advantage of the lonely surroundings to give themselves enough time to break open the car’s lock, defeat its safety system and decamp with the vehicle. The same thieves will avoid meddling with a vehicle that is parked right under the parking attendant’s nose or at a place that is heavily peopled.
Avoid unsecured parking locations as far as possible. When parking in lots where the car will sit for hours, choose parking slots that is close to where the parking attendants sit. Also, parking your car at a place where there is a lot of people movement is usually a deterrent for most thieves. Avoid parking in unlit areas like the plague, for it is darkness that’s the car thief’s best friend.
A car with no alarm or security system
Skimping on a few thousand rupees by not equipping your car with an alarm/immobilizer is another mistake that owners routinely make. It isn’t that car thieves cannot defeat alarms but then, having one on your car makes it less likely to be the target of a thief as thieves tend to avoid vehicles that make noise and attract attention. Also, other visual deterrents like steering and gear locks usually makes the thief select a less protected car.
So, how to protect your car?
Equipping your car with the latest GPS based security system that can actually cut off ignition and stop your car within minutes of it being stolen, and using gear/steering locks can actually almost all but the most determined thieves, are effective methods you may want to consider. Remember, always ensure that you tick on the engine immobilizer option while you buy your car.
Like hijacking, car jacking involves thieves hustling the owner to part with her/his car through threats of bodily harm. This usually happens with more than one thief operating. After the thieves have surrounded the vehicle they intend to carjack and have gotten the owner to stop, they use the threat of violence to make the owner give her/his car up. Such thieves usually use the car to commit an illegal act within hours of the carjack or dismantle the car and sell parts as spares.
What to do when you’re at the receiving end of a carjack attempt?
1. Simply give up your car. Not doing so can be a major threat to your life. Living without a car is easier than being crippled for life with serious injuries, or even just dead.
2. Ensure that your car is equipped with a GPS tracking device, which once again brings us to the topic of securing your car with multiple security devices and insuring the car.
3. Contact your nearest law enforcement agency and pass on the GPS data.
Also Read – How To Safeguard Your Car Against Theft