Cars are probably the single most popular target of criminals because they are relatively easy to steal. In the time it takes you to brush your teeth, a car is stolen in the United States. While a little over half these vehicles are found (some with significant damage), it’s a stressful event that costs everyone involved. To put the brakes on vehicle theft, try the following prevention tips.

  • Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into each piece of glass on the vehicle as a deterrent. An auto thief is less likely to steal it because of the time and money involved in replacing the glass to remove the car’s identity.
  • Copy your license plate and VIN numbers on a card and keep them on you with your driver’s license. If your vehicle is stolen, police will need this information promptly.
  • Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • Investigate the purchase of an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.
  • If you park in a fee garage at an office building or airport, take the pay-ticket with you. It’s the thief’s ticket out of the garage, too.
  • If you use valet parking, leave just the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no identifying information is attached to the key. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.
  • Never leave your car running and unattended, even to dash into a business.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Always park in a high-traffic, well-lit area, if possible.