Let’s continue with a list of common items that people leave in plain view in their cars which practically begs thieves to break in and a short list of tasks to complete that will drastically reduce the chances of your car being stolen.

Portable GPS mounts
I would not use these at all as thieves can spot the ring that these leave on windshields.  Portable GPS’s are gold to a thief because they can instantly be sold on the black market.  I would also advise you make the default “home” setting go to your house.  There are instances where we catch thieves with stolen Portable GPS’s and we have no way of finding out who the true owner is or infinitely worse, if they’re actually stolen!

Center Console Radio/DVD Player
Whether or not your radio or DVD/CD Player is attached to the center console I recommend you either remove it whenever you exit your car or you cover it

Change/money
This may seem like a no-brainer but many people leave quarters for parking meters in the cup holders and thieves will take the two minutes to break your window for those quarters

EZ-Pass
Thieves can take your EZ-Pass which is close to stealing your credit card since they can run up a large bill in a short amount of time.  This is especially dangerous if your entire car is stolen.  You’d basically be funding a thief’s road trip.

Factory made tires and rims are always in high demand.  Mainly because these items can only be obtained through the manufacturer at a ridiculously high price.  Invest in a reliable pair of tire locks.  And by reliable I don’t mean the cheapest set in the store.  Thieves are able to bypass cheaper tire locks.

Electronic boxes and clothing store bags
People frequently leave empty laptop boxes or designer clothing store bags in their back seats. While the boxes and bags may be empty, you’re still giving thieves a reason to break into your car.  If you must leave these in your car, put them in the trunk and make sure you lock it.

Airbags and headlights are items that just happen to be part of your vehicle.  Again, investing in a reliable alarm system will drastically reduce the chances of these items being removed from your vehicle.  Airbags especially as professional thieves are able to remove these without having them deploy in the process.

DO NOT leave your car’s insurance, registration or title inside the glove box or anywhere in the car.  You’re asking thieves to keep your car for a longer period of time by doing this.  Thieves can easily lie to the police about who’s car their driving if they have all of the proper documents.  The police will usually investigate further if someone driving a car doesn’t have any of the paperwork for it.

LoJack and The Club
These are two items I’d highly recommend investing in.  I’ve never responded to a job where a car was stolen and the victim had both of these installed in the car.  Most Police cars are equipped with LoJack scanners that will alarm when a stolen car with LoJack installed gets within a certain distance.

Cat/heat program
I also recommend calling your local Police Precinct and inquiring about any auto theft programs they may have.  There are programs in New York that allow the police to pull your car over if it’s being driven during off hours of the night.  The Police may also be able to assist you in having the VIN number of your car etched into multiple parts of your vehicle.  This would make it harder for thieves to sell it on the black market.

Make sure your license plates are securely fastened
Thieves will generally steal a car and then switch the license plates on it.  This makes it harder for the police to find out whether or not the car is stolen.  Even if only one of your license plates is stolen/missing, report it to the police immediately and go to the DMV to get new plates.  You don’t want to be responsible for crimes that are committed with your license plate.

Here’s a short list of tasks to complete that will drastically reduce the chances of your car being stolen.

After parking your car…

  • Turn the wheels toward the curb (this makes it harder for your car to be pulled away)
  • Use the parking brake
  • Utilize the Club and make sure it is properly locked
  • Roll up all of the windows
  • Lock all of the doors
  • Make sure your alarm system is enabled

Don’t leave your car running with the keys in the ignition.  There are countless car theft jobs I respond to where the victim says “I was in the store for a minute” or “I ran inside really quick”. Aside from possible having your car stolen, you can get a ticket in some states for leaving your running car unattended.

Don’t leave a spare set of keys in the vehicle.  Keep a spare set in your house if you must.

Tinted Windows
This is a grey area. A lot of people use tinted windows as security.  If you follow the advice given in this post, you won’t need tinted windows to “hide” the inside of your vehicle.  Not to mention, heavily tinted windows are illegal in most states.  You’ll leave yourself open to getting pulled over by the police and receiving tickets with expensive fines.

Motorcycles
The best advice for motorcycles is not to leave them in a public area.  No alarm system in the world will prevent a motorcycle from being stolen.  Thieves have recently used Chevy Astro Vans to aid them in motorcycle thefts.  They simply lift the entire motorcycle up and onto the van and drive away.  It’s that simple and takes less than five minutes.