How to Deter Car Thieves

By Subodh / February 13, 2013

Criminals usually prey on weakness. They can smell it. -Steven Seagal 

If anyone knows how to fight crime… it’s Steven Seagal. His point above is also rather insightful, though not exactly profound. Criminals commit crimes that are, generally, simple and easy to accomplish. Thus, they prey on the weak. Generally, they won’t engage in illegal activities when the odds are stacked against them. So when it comes to car thieves, the best way to protect yourself is to make the job of stealing from you more difficult.

Luckily, there are countless means to accomplish this. And with so many cars being stolen every year, there have been a slew of products developed that promise to help keep you from becoming a victim. But you don’t always have to spend money to protect yourself. There are many free and cheap alternatives, many only requiring a little common sense, and at times, memory. So without further ado, let’s get into some of the ways you can protect yourself against car thieves.

Park Out In The Open

No criminal wants to do his or her deed out in the open. They would much rather prefer to stay hidden in the shadows, out of sight, and away from prying eyes. As such, it would then behoove you to keep your vehicle in a well-lit area, or one where plenty of traffic passes through.

Always Take Your Keys

A great percentage of stolen vehicles were stolen when the keys were left in the ignition, or worse yet, when it was left running. Nothing is easier for a thief, which is quite literally their perfect scenario. Another precaution to be aware of is hiding your keys outside of your vehicle, such as within a wheel well, or under a bumper. There are only so many places to hide these on a car, and thieves are well aware of all the best locations. Other helpful tips for avoiding being the victim of a crime can come from those that study their behaviors, such as criminologists who have degrees similar to those offered through the Regis University online masters criminology program.

Disable Battery

If you plan on leaving your vehicle somewhere for an extended period of time, and fear it may become a target. You can always disable the battery to deter a would-be car thief. Many times, they will think the battery is simply dead, or wont care to try and wait around to figure it out. The last thing they are going to try and do is look under the hood to see what the problem is. They’ll simply move on to the next vehicle.

VIN Etchings

It has become increasingly popular to etch VIN numbers onto commonly stolen vehicle parts. The reasons being that only so few vehicle parts are worthwhile to steal, such as airbags and wheel rims. The majority of the car is scrapped while the rest is sold off. Contact your local police department or insurance agency and they will inform you of locations that do vehicle etchings.

Deter Car Thieves

Sticker Warning

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and often times, its all that is needed to deter would-be car thieves. Simply putting stickers on your vehicle warning of a car alarm can often keep thieve away. Even if the vehicle doesn’t have an alarm, a sticker that says it does will keep someone from breaking into your vehicle if the sound of the alarm would raise too much attention. It’s cheap, and though it may not entirely keep criminals away, it certainly helps.

Steering Wheel Locks

Another great visible deterrent are steering wheel locking bars. They’re not as reliable as you may assume, however, the amount of time they take to over come is often more than criminals care to spend. There are also a variety of steering wheel locks, such as armored locks steering wheel covers. These do essentially the same thing, but are a bit more difficult to break into.

Kill Switches

Kill switches are another great way to stop a car thief if they have are trying to make off with your vehicle, rather than some contents within. A kill switch literally disables the electrical charge to the engine, thus not allowing it to start up. They generally cost around $150, and you have to remember to turn it on once you leave your car as well as keep the switch hidden. A potential thief wont know why the car wont start, and most likely run off rather than try to sort it out.

Hide Valuables

Thieves generally break into cars, if they’re not steeling the car itself, when valuable items are in plain site. Simply stashing anything of worth under a seat or in the trunk will give thieves little reason to break into your car to begin with. If they don’t see anything they want, they’re not going to target your vehicle.

Theft Towing

A common trend in the car thieving industry has become not breaking into your car, hot-wiring it and driving off, but rather, pulling up in a tow truck and hauling your vehicle away. It’s faster, easier, and many off the anti-theft devices won’t matter in these scenarios. So you have to be prepared to defend as best you can against this as well. Some simple tactics involve turning your steering wheel toward the nearest curb, engaging your emergency brakes, and if you drive a manual, keeping the vehicle in gear. These all make it more difficult for a tow truck to drive off with your vehicle attached.

Lock Your Vehicle

Finally, just lock your vehicle. You would be amazed at how many folks don’t lock their vehicles outside their home, or when they run into a store real quick. These are prime moments for thieves to hop in and steal something of value, or to try and quickly hot wire your vehicle. By locking your door, you’re at least making the first step in their endeavor more difficult. Which is generally all that is needed to dissuade potential criminals.

The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @AAMCOColorado. If you live in Colorado, and are looking for a Littleton Transmission Repair, visit your local AAMCO Colorado Location nearest you!