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How To Prevent a Car Break-in

Reduce your chances of finding your car with glass all over the seats and a missing stereo with these simple precautions.


  • Step 1: Remove all loose items and packages from your car and store them in the trunk. You should never store valuables like your iPod or a detachable GPS device in your car, but even a visible CD or tape will let a thief know you have a stereo that’s likely worth stealing.
  • TIP: If your vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, consider getting a cover for its cargo compartment.
  • Step 2: Cheap and oddly shaped factory-issued stereos tend not to interest thieves—nor do basic jacks that you use to power an mp3 player that you take with you. Otherwise, get a stereo with a detachable faceplate, and make sure to always remove it when you exit the car.
  • TIP: Don’t let your speakers give you away: make sure yours are inconspicuous.
  • Step 3: Always lock your car doors when you’re away from your car—even if you’ll only be gone a minute.
  • Step 4: Check that your car windows are up before leaving the car. Passengers often slip them down for a little air and then forget to close them again.
  • Step 5: Don’t leave a spare key on your car. Thieves aren’t stupid – if you’ve got a spare hidden in a magnet somewhere, chances are they’ll find it.
  • Step 6: If you can, park your car in a well-trafficked, well-lighted area.
  • TIP: Thieves often monitor mall parking lots. So if you make a trip to your car to drop off some packages but intend to continue shopping, move your car to another spot.
  • Step 7: Hang a sign in your car windows that says there’s nothing worth stealing inside. When folks in Charlotte, North Carolina, did that, there was a noticeable drop in break-ins.
  • FACT: Every hour, about 300 cars are broken into in the United States.

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