If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of violation that comes with having your wallet or phone stolen, then just imagine something a thousand times worse – that’s close to how it feels to have your car stolen. Your car is a mobile memory bank, and chances are you keep a number of personal items in there, too. It’s probably also crucial in getting you to work, picking up your children, running errands and navigating your life. Even if you have insurance for theft, there is usually still a large deductible and it doesn’t eliminate the feeling of violation.
If you don’t have a garage, you’re not alone, but you do need to take extra steps to prevent car theft. Here are some helpful tips to consider that may help keep you from falling victim.
Park Directly in Front of a Home or Business
When looking for a parking spot on the street, don’t select one right in front of a large hedge, wall, or empty lot. Try to park your car in front of a home or a business to increase the likelihood of someone spotting a thief trying to break into your car and calling the police. At the very least, if the thief does succeed in taking your car, there may be witnesses who can help find him. If you park next to a large wall or vacant lot, you give a thief the opportunity to operate without being seen.
Rent a Spot
In big cities and busy neighborhoods, it’s quite common for individuals to have a parking spot included in their apartment building, that they simply do not use. If you ask around or put up an ad, you can likely find someone willing to rent you their spot for a small fee every month. Paying fifty or one hundred dollars a month for a parking spot on private property is a bargain compared to having your car stolen. Plus, it eliminates the need to circle the neighborhood, looking for a spot.
Park Close So You Can Hear Your Alarm
It’s certainly not always easy to find a parking spot near your home, but do what you can to make it happen. If you see one open up during the day, move your car there instantly. If someone does try to break into your car, you will hear the alarm from your home. Be sure to learn the sound of your specific car alarm so you don’t walk outside every time you hear one, but if you aren’t sure, always go out and check on your precious ride. In busy neighborhoods, thieves rely on the fact that most cars are parked several blocks from the owner’s home, so they cannot keep an eye on their vehicle at all times.
Always Go Out When You Hear an Alarm
This may be a bit of a hassle, but it could also save your car. Most of us have become conditioned to believe that a sounding car alarm is either a false alarm, or simply coming from a car that isn’t ours. But you should get in the habit of looking outside when you hear an alarm go off. Even if it isn’t coming from your car, you could prevent the theft of someone else’s car. And it’s important that thieves staking out the street see that people do, in fact, come outside to see what’s happening if they hear a car alarm go off. Just be sure to bring your keys and lock the front door behind you.
Park Near Attendants and Cameras
If you pay for a spot in a nearby garage, try to get one close to the parking attendant, or at least near a security camera. It’s difficult for a security guard to monitor hundreds of cars at once and easy for a thief to sneak into a large parking garage. So do what you can to help yourself and park your car in the smartest spots.
Put Up an Alarm Sticker
Having a car alarm may not be enough to deter a thief. Often, thieves know how to deactivate an alarm quickly, or they can start your car and drive off in it before anyone comes out to check on it. Having a sticker on your car that states there is an alarm may, however, make a thief move past it. Thieves are willing to work around alarms if they go off, but would rather avoid them when possible.
Parking spots are hot commodities in busy areas and having one included in your apartment or condo is not a given. If you do not have a garage or in-unit parking spot, there are still steps you can take to prevent car theft.