By Alex Danoff on February 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM
Imagine being parked on a quiet street visiting a friend for a couple of hours, and returning to find your car is gone! How likely is your car to be a target? That depends on what kind of car it is and what you do to reduce the chances of it being stolen.
For car thieves, speed is the name of the game; the quicker they can get into your vehicle and get it on the road, the more attractive it is to them. Any measures you can take to slow down car thieves and joy-riders will make your vehicle a less appealing target, say the auto insurance experts at GEICO.
“As long as there are cars on the road, auto theft will always be a concern for car owners,” said Steven Rutzebeck, director of GEICO’s special investigations unit. “However, there are a few simple tips you can follow to help minimize your chances of being a victim.”
GEICO recommends the following measures to protect against theft:
- Lock your vehicle’s doors at all times, even while driving.
- Never leave your car running and unattended, and don’t leave your keys in the car. Close all the windows, doors and the sunroof.
- Make sure no personal items are in plain sight and remove all valuables from the vehicle if possible.
- If your vehicle doesn’t already have an anti-theft system, have one installed. Thieves are more likely to break into cars that do not have alarm systems; they are less likely to steal vehicles that can be tracked. Many insurers offer discounts for vehicles equipped with anti-theft systems.
- At night, park your car in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings.
- If you park on an incline, leave your car in park or in gear with the wheels turned toward the curb. This makes it harder for thieves to tow your vehicle.
- Know who you’re dealing with. Most auto thefts are committed by professionals who often target high-performance cars and popular models whose parts are interchangeable. They usually turn the cars they steal over to “chop shops” or to third parties that export them to other countries.
- Watch out for the “bump-and-rob” move. Carjackers may intentionally bump your car from the rear and then steal it when you get out to examine the damage.
- If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced; you can’t.
Of course, some vehicles are simply more attractive to thieves than others; visit geiconow.com, for a list of the top 10 most stolen cars in America. For more tips on protecting your car from theft, go to GEICO’s auto theft information center. For additional information on theft prevention, go to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s website.