There are over 700,000 car thefts in the United States each year. Thefts occur in every part of the country—big cities and small towns alike are susceptible to the crime of grand theft auto.

That’s why, regardless of where you live or what vehicle you have, you need to know how to prevent car theft. No one method of preventing car theft is foolproof; it’s best to utilize several strategies for keeping your vehicle safe.

Keep reading to learn seven strategies for preventing car theft, and talk with your insurance agent about what to do if your car is stolen.

1. Lock Your Doors

This might seem like the simplest piece of advice, but it’s one a lot of people take for granted: always lock your car doors, regardless of where you’re at or how long you’ll be away from the vehicle.

You might feel safe leaving the car unlocked if it’s in your driveway, or if you’re only running into the store for a minute, but vehicles can still be stolen in those situations.

2. Keep Windows Closed

An open window is an invitation to a car thief; even if you have your door locked, an open window makes it very easy for someone to reach inside and unlock it (or simply steal something near the window).

Again, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security; there’s no location or time frame where it’s safe to leave your window down.

3. Don’t Leave a Spare Key

About half of all car thefts are the result of the thief finding a key in the car; that could be your primary key that you left in the car by accident, or it could be a spare that the thief found.

Spare keys aren’t worth the risk, especially if you’re driving one of these cars, which are at higher risk for theft.

4. Use a Car Alarm

Car alarms are loud and draw attention to anyone who may be trying to break into your vehicle. More eyes on your car is always a good thing—most potential thieves will leave quickly if they accidentally trigger an alarm.

5. Park in Bright Areas

Where you park can be as important as what you’re driving. If you can park in a garage, where people can’t see your car, you lower your risk; failing that, park somewhere well-lit and easy to see.

Thieves are less likely to break the law if they think someone will see them.

6. Don’t Leave Things in Your Car

Leaving valuables in your car draws attention. Purses, wallets, DVDs—if any of these are sitting on your car seat, someone might notice them and break into the vehicle to take them.

While this might not lead to a theft of the car itself, it will still damage the vehicle and cost you the items.

7. Use an Engine Immobilizer

Engine immobilizer systems are used in many cars, but they’re particularly useful at preventing keyless car theft. Immobilizers prevent the engine from activating if the thief can’t send the right signal to the car.

Know How to Prevent Car Theft

When you know how to prevent car theft, your vehicle becomes much safer. The number of stolen cars rises every day, but by following the steps above, you can prevent your vehicle from joining their ranks.

Now that your vehicle is safe, you can invest in it. Visit our blog on car care tips to get the most out of your vehicle.

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