The thought of having your car broken into is chilling – yet many of us park our cars in unattended lots and on sketchy streets at regular intervals, often in our own neighborhoods.
The PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll finds only about 1 in 5 respondents (19 percent) say they’re extremely or very concerned about car prowls in their neighborhood. Instead, about half (48 percent) admit they’re not very or not at all concerned about the threat of a car break-in. Among those surveyed, a majority of drivers say they regularly take basic precautions to prevent break-ins by locking doors and removing valuables. Just under half (45 percent) say they use an electronic alarm system to protect their car and belongings, as well.
Beyond those simple steps, PEMCO recommends following these tips to keep valuable possessions safe from car prowlers:
– Never leave your car running unattended, even if you’re just going away for a few seconds. If you do need to leave the vehicle, turn the car off, remove the keys and lock the doors so thieves don’t have an easy target.
– If you park on the street, find a well-lighted area. Good lighting is even more critical if you’re parking overnight, as thieves intent on ransacking cars often strike between 3 and 5 a.m.
– Don’t leave anything in view, no matter what you think it may be worth. Even a few coats left innocently piled on the seat might look like they’re hiding something worth stealing.
– If you have to leave items in the car, stash them in the trunk, and do it before you park so a prowler doesn’t see you. If you don’t have a trunk, put belongings out of sight on the floor or under the seat.