Holiday Safety Tips – Stop Car Theft, Break Ins, Personal Robbery, Abduction, Carjackings
Simple tips to prevent car break ins are reported by many local newspapers and TV stations, but it keeps happening, especially during the holidays.
Some police departments even do patrols, and put notices on windshields, when they spot cars with items in plain view inside the car.
I’ve known people that left a single music CD, worth less than $20, on the front seat of their car while they were shopping. Some thief liked that music artist, so they just smashed the car window and took the CD.
This could happen at a convenience store, mall, doctors office, restaurant, even at a car dealership or car repair shop.
Speaking of car dealers and repair shops, if you bring your car in for service, you may want to stand nearby and observe before they actually bring your car in to the work area.
Thieves have a practice of lurking nearby these areas. A salesman leaving a car with the keys inside and walking inside the office, even for less than a minute, may return to find the car has vanished.
The thieves often use these cars to commit other crimes, or they just drive them around for a few days or a week or so, and then leave them somewhere. But if it’s your car and the police recover it, you may find it has a lot of interior as well as exterior damage.
Police say that most cars are stolen because people leave their keys in the ignition, going into a store “just for a minute”.
A lot of people actually leave the engine running, making it very easy for a thief.
Here are some tips for staying safe and avoiding theft:
- If you’re leaving work to go shopping, put your laptop and other valuables in your trunk before you leave work – not when you get to the mall parking lot.
- Keep you wallet or purse where a pickpocket or thief can’t easily grab it.
- Don’t lie your cell phone, iphone, or ipad, on the counter while you’re shopping or talking to someone.
- Be aware of your surroundings when walking to your car. Don’t text while walking – this will leave you distracted and an easy target, either for someone looking to rob you, or a reckless driver.
- Don’t loiter around, holding your packages. If you are with friends and want to talk, put the packages in the trunk and then meet them at a restaurant or someother place.
- Report suspicious activity to security, a store manager, or police.
- Always lock your car doors, windows, and sunroof.
- Lock gifts and other items inside the trunk. Even an item where you can’t see what’s inside – such as a shopping bag, box, backpack, etc., will lure a thief. Put items under the seat or in the glove compartment, if possible.
- Plan ahead – you may want to plan on leaving the kids at home for some of your shopping trips (to avoid abductions). Tells friend and family your shopping plans, where you will be.
- After shopping, before you walk to your car, scan the area. Look for people loitering and watching.
- One trick you may want to use – if you aren’t finished shopping, put your packages in your trunk, and then drive to a different parking spot.
- Look around and inside your car as you approach it. Have your keys in your hand.