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.
White Automobile
Lock Up
  • An unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
  • Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
  • Close all windows: Professional thieves have tools that unlock cars even through the smallest openings.
  • Lock the trunk or tailgate.
  • Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store or mini-mall.
  • When you park the car, remove cellular phones, iPods, gifts and other valuable possessions from plain view. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
Park Carefully
  • At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle in unattended public parking lot for an extended period of time. A car is 5 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.
  • Turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking, this makes it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
Opportunities That Carjackers Look For
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs)
  • Highway exit and entry ramps, or other places where drivers slow down or stop
  • Intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs
  • Parking garages, shopping malls and grocery stores
  • Residential driveways and streets (as people get in and out of their cars)
  • Self-service gas stations and car washes
Precautions You Can Take
  • Be alert of your surroundings, of people approaching your vehicle.
  • If someone is threatening you with a weapon, give up the vehicle-it’s not worth your life.
  • Keep car and house keys on separate key chains.
  • Keep the garage door opener in your purse or briefcase.
  • Keep your doors locked.
  • Park in well-lit, busy areas.
  • Stick with the traffic and avoid lightly traveled streets-especially after dark.
  • When stopped in traffic, always leave enough room to make an emergency getaway.
Additional Tips
  • Carjacking 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.
  • Consider the purchase and installation of security devices, such as:
    • Fuel switch to prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor
    • Interior hood lock release
    • Locking gas cap
    • Second ignition switch or “kill switch” to prevent electrical current from reaching the coil distributor
  • Keep the vehicle registration in your wallet or purse, not in 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.
  • 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.