PERSONAL SAFETY & CRIME PREVENTION - Vehicle Safety
Car theft, carjacking or stolen merchandise from a vehicle—these crimes can happen anywhere, not just in "high crime" neighborhoods, and during broad daylight, as well as after dark. The key to deterring vehicle-related crime and staying safe is to take common-sense precautions at all times.
- An unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
- Lock the trunk or tailgate.
- Close all windows: Professional thieves have tools that unlock cars even through the smallest openings.
- Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
- When you park the car, remove cellular phones, i-pods, gifts and other valuable possessions from plain view. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
- Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store or mini-mall.
- Don’t leave your vehicle in unattended public parking lot for an extended period of time. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.
- If possible, park your car in a lot where you don’t have to leave your keys.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. (If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home.) If you have to leave your keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.
- At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
- Turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking, this makes it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
- Record your vehicle identification number (located on a small metal plate on the
dashboard of newer cars) and store it in a safe place.
- Keep the vehicle registration in your wallet or purse, not in your car.
- Use anti-theft devices
- When buying a car, check the manufacturer’s list of anti-theft options, such as interior hood and trunk releases, locking steering columns, etc.
- Consider the purchase and installation of security devices, such as:
– Interior hood lock release
– Second ignition switch or “kill switch” to prevent electrical current from reaching the coil distributor
– Fuel switch to prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor
– Locking gas cap
This violent, random form of auto theft is on the rise. A driver of any vehicle can be a
target of someone with a weapon. It can happen anywhere, day or night.
Opportunities that carjackers look for:
- Intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs
- Parking garages, shopping malls and grocery stores
- Self-service gas stations and car washes
- Automated teller machines (ATM's)
- Residential driveways and streets (as people get in and out of their cars)
- Highway exit and entry ramps, or other places where drivers slow down or stop
Precautions you can take:
- Keep your doors locked.
- Park in well-lit, busy areas.
- Be alert of your surroundings, of people approaching your vehicle.
- Stick with the traffic and avoid lightly traveled streets—especially after dark.
- Keep car and house keys on separate key chains.
- Keep the garage door opener in your purse or briefcase.
- When stopped in traffic, always leave enough room to make an emergency getaway.
- If someone is threatening you with a weapon, give up the vehicle—it’s not worth