How to Prevent Car Break-ins


Motor vehicle theft is up 3.1% nationally, says the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Data report. While thieves may admire glamorous sports cars and luxury sedans, that’s not what they’re generally stealing. In terms of new cars, the Nissan Altima, Chrysler 200, and Toyota Camry were the most often stolen cars in 2016, reports Forbes. The Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Silverado topped the list of most stolen among used cars. Overall, used cars tend to be stolen more often than newer models, simply because they have less sophisticated anti-theft technology. In other words, car thieves want your car, but they don’t want to put in too much work.

Here are some car break-in prevention techniques.

1. Lock your doors

A majority of car break-ins and thefts are from unlocked cars. Even if you are parked in front of your house, in your driveway or inside your garage, lock your doors. Criminals like to walk down the street and see if a car is unlocked, if it is, they open the door and take whatever is visible and move on to the next target. However, if the door is locked, they are more likely to move on.

2. Don’t leave your car running

It can be tempting to leave your car running when you’re just popping in and out of the store, but this also makes it pretty easy for a thief to hop in and drive away. Also, it’s illegal to leave your car running and unattended in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. Laws vary based on the circumstance and state, but they all have the same goal in mind: to help prevent your car from getting stolen!

3. Park in well-lit areas

If you’re parking your car somewhere after the sun has gone down, try to find a spot underneath a streetlight that’s well lit and well trafficked. Thieves may be less likely to rummage through a car with a spotlight on them and a potential audience just around the corner.

4. Keep your vehicle tidy

Thieves like to window shop! Avoid leaving anything visible in the car. Almost any item that’s visible from the outside – even if you think it is worthless – could be seen as valuable to a thief. Your spare change, sunglasses, even an empty bag (a thief may think there is something inside the bag) could be valuable in the mind of a thief.

5. Invest in an anti-theft system

Whether it’s a steering wheel lock, a window alarm, or an ignition cut-off system, anything that makes a thief work harder could also make your car safer. If it will slow them down or potentially get them caught, they’ll probably pass.

6. Report Break-Ins

If you see a break-in in progress, call 911 immediately! Provide the 911 dispatcher with as much information as possible, such as:

  • Location – Provide an address, block number, or specific location in a parking lot.

  • Description of the suspect – Provide as much information as you can, i.e. sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color and length, color and length of facial hair, colors and style of clothing, and identifying marks such as tattoos and piercings.

  • Direction – If the suspect flees, give the direction of travel. If they flee on a bicycle or in a vehicle, describe the color, make, model, and license plate number, if it is safe to do so!