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10 Ways To Foil Car Thieves

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On: Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 9:45AM | By: Bill Wilson

10 Ways To Foil Car Thieves

While auto theft rates are falling nationally, car thieves remain active throughout the country. The following statistics tell a sobering story:

• In 2011, the most recent year for which reliable statistics are available, 715, 373 motor vehicles were stolen.

• Less than 12% of those incidents resulted in an arrest, and only a tiny number of the vehicles taken were ever returned to their owners.

• The value of stolen autos in 2011 exceeded $4 billion.

• Car theft is a nationwide problem, with states like California, Georgia, Arizona, and New York all included in the FBI’s “top 10” places where vehicles are most likely to be stolen.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to stop car thieves from targeting you. These include:

1. Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even when you’re behind the wheel.

2. Never leave keys in the car, not even a spare set. Thieves are experts at finding these, no matter how cleverly you think you’ve concealed them.

3. Always close the windows and sunroof when you park.

4. Never leave your car running while you’re away from it. Hundreds of vehicles are stolen each year due to this habit.

5. Avoid high-crime areas if at all possible.

6. Park in well-lit areas with lots of foot traffic.

7. Install an anti-theft device in your car (more on this in a bit).

8. Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on the windows, the stereo, the inside of the trunk, and other components.

9. If parking for the long term (a week or more), and if you’re comfortable doing so, disable the car by loosening a battery cable or some other simple-to-correct means. Thieves hate to take extra time, and will probably give up on the car rather than figure out the problem.

10. Never leave personal information like contracts, job applications, or other forms in your vehicle. This could put you at risk of having your identity stolen as well as your car.

Types of anti-theft products

• Devices that lock onto the steering wheel. These are relatively inexpensive and provide a strong visual deterrent to criminals.

• Ignition disabling systems. These prevents thieves from being able to start the car.

• Traditional car alarms. These have acquired a bad reputation in recent years, as they have a tendency to go off even if no one is stealing the vehicle. Nonetheless, they still have a role to play when used with other devices like steering wheel locks.

• Car tracking systems. These emit signals that the police can track to find the stolen vehicle. Some of these products even come with guarantees that the auto will be recovered within 24 hours of being taken.

As with so many other things, foiling car thieves means using caution and common sense. With a little care and foresight, you can ensure that your vehicle will be waiting for you right where you left it. Best of luck and stay safe.

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