Every car in Washington DC, is at risk for theft. So it’s up to auto owners to make cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles.
Common Sense Auto Theft Prevention
You would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in DC where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Washington DC drivers would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.
Roll up windows completely and avoid leaving a car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.
Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.
Auto Theft Prevention Devices
There are lots of important visible and audible devices available for Washington DC drivers. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.
And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.
Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.
Finally, Washington DC drivers can also get a tracking device that allows Washington DC police to track their car down and recover it quickly.
Remember, where you live, work and drive around Washington DC has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.
Of course, these common sense suggestions don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves.