The Riverside Police Department offers the following tips to help prevent auto theft:
1. Lock DoorsKeeping your doors locked is the first step in deterring a thief. It’s good to get into the habit of checking your car doors.2. Remove Keys from VehicleNever leave your keys in the ignition. If your key is in the ignition, a thief can simply break a window and drive off. Never leave your car running, even if you’re just going into a store for a quick errand. A running vehicle may be an easy mark for a thief, especially if it is unattended or unlocked.3. Don’t Leave Spare Key Inside VehicleTake your keys with you when you leave your car. Some people keep a spare key under the car or in the glove box just in case they get locked out — but thieves know where to check for an extra key. While getting locked out of your car is a pain, think about the potential hassle of your car getting stolen.4. Close WindowsKeep your windows closed completely. A thief can simply reach into your car through an open window taking what they can reach or unlocking the door to gain full access to your vehicle and everything in it.5. Park in Well-Lit AreasAvoid parking in areas that are poorly lit or places that are not immediately seen by passers-byes. It would be a good idea to parking under a light and in a well-trafficked area, as thieves may be deterred if they know they can easily be seen.6. Install Audible Alarm System and Anti-Theft DeviceAn audible alarm is designed to emit a loud noise, often the car’s horn, if someone attempts to enter the vehicle while the alarm is on. The unwanted attention attracted by the noise may chase off a potential thief. Visible devices, such as a steering wheel lock, window etching, or an alarm system’s flashing light, may also be enough to deter a car thief, If they are not sure they can get away with the car quietly or fear they may get caught.
7. Install Vehicle Immobilizer SystemThieves can bypass your ignition by “hotwiring” your car, but you can help prevent this by using a vehicle immobilizer system. Immobilizer systems may incorporate smart keys, kill switches, and wireless ignition authentication. They’ll essentially disable the vehicle so that a thief cannot take it.
8. Install Tracking SystemYou may want to consider installing a tracking system, which can also be called a vehicle recovery system. When your car is stolen, this tracking system will use wireless and/or GPS technology to emit a signal to the police or a monitoring service of your vehicle’s location. This may help the police recover your vehicle faster.
9. Don’t Leave Valuables in CarOne way to attract a thief is to leave a purse, cell phone, or another high-value item in a highly visible area of your car. It’s best to leave anything of value at home, but, if you must have something important with you, keep it out of sight. Firestone also recommends putting valuables in the trunk before you get where you need to be, as some thieves scope parking lots — looking for people who are moving items to their trunk. Once you’ve left the vehicle, they’ll break into the trunk to grab whatever you stashed away.
10. Be AlertBe aware of your surroundings when you park your car. If you are wary of the safety of your car or see someone loitering around the parking lot, it’s best to park somewhere else. Double-check that your vehicle’s windows and doors are closed before leaving your car unattended.
One last note, beware of the “Bump-and-Rob.” Carjackers may bump your car from the rear, then rob you and take your car when you get out to look for damage. When stopped at a traffic light, leave room to maneuver around the vehicle ahead if you need to. If another car bumps yours and you feel threatened, drive to a populated area or, if you have a cellular phone, call the police for assistance. If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced, you can’t.
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