Diagonal view of a row of cars parked in a lot, highlighting the rear lights and designs of the vehicles.

5 Helpful Tips to Keep Your Car Protected from Break-ins

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Written by Andrea Davis
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Edited by Sarah Claire Eleazer
For Residents September 6, 2023

If you’ve ever been a victim of an auto burglary, you know the feeling in the pit of your stomach as you walk over shattered glass to your car’s broken window. Or even worse finding that your car has been stolen. Over the last several years, communities across the country have seen near-record auto crimes. Whether you live in a big city, suburbia, or a smaller town, crime happens and unfortunately apartment communities are often targeted.

Close-up of a car's shattered side window with glass fragments around the frame, under bright sunlight.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, a car is stolen every 21 seconds in the United States and over one million vehicles were stolen in 2022.  With these crimes on the rise, it’s important to know what you can do to deter thieves from your car. Here are some tips to keep you and your vehicle safe:



1.  Never Leave Your Car Running

It may seem harmless to leave your car running while you quickly enter your home or a store.  Even if it’s “just for a minute,” you are making it easy for a car thief when you leave your car running unattended. In addition, in many states and municipalities, leaving a car with the key in the ignition and running is against the law.

Person's hands on a car steering wheel with a wristwatch visible, and the car's dashboard and ignition in the background.



2.  Always Lock Your Doors

It may seem like common sense, but it’s a common problem.  Often, car thieves check door handles because it’s an easy way to quickly gain access to a vehicle without the attention and noise of breaking the window. This small action can save you the time and hassle of becoming a victim of this common crime.

A woman from behind walking towards a parked car while holding car keys, ready to unlock it.



3.  Remove Your Valuables

It takes less than 30 seconds for a thief to break your window and get inside your car.  When you tempt a thief by leaving valuables in your car, you make yourself an easy target.  Law Enforcement officials suggest removing laptops, phones, money, and any other valuables from vehicles since the vast majority of car break-ins are because people have left valuables out in the open.

A smartphone on top of a wallet, placed on the center console inside a car, with the gear shift nearby.



4.  Install a Locking Device 

These devices, such as a steering wheel lock, are extra barriers and a hassle for criminals to bypass.  Many times, thieves will move on to the next vehicle if they see an obstacle in the way of their easy access to your vehicle.

A close-up view of a steering wheel locked with a red and black security device.



5.  Consider a Security System

If you live in a high-theft area or drive an automobile that is an attractive target for thieves, an alarm or other vehicle security system may be a good idea. Opportunists are always looking for ways to steal vehicles to make easy money. From GPS trackers to basic alarms, anything extra to deter a thief can be helpful in combatting auto crimes.

A hand holding a smartphone with a car security app on the screen, with a blurred car in the background.

Law Enforcement officials are seeing an uptick in stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Many police agencies are providing free steering wheel locks for these owners specifically. Be sure to check with your local law enforcement to see if there is a program to help protect your vehicle.

Don’t tempt a thief! Make sure to lock your car doors and bring all valuables inside your home to stay safe. Be sure to check out our other blogs to protect yourself against issues like package theft, rental scams and much more.



*Please be advised that the recommendations provided in this article cannot guarantee the prevention of car break-ins or thefts.

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