published : 2023-09-17

Protecting Your Car from Theft: Essential Measures to Take

Thwarting Thieves: Strategies to Safeguard Your Vehicle

A close-up shot of a thief attempting to unlock a car door with a cloned key, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Car theft is a pervasive issue, with motor vehicle thefts in Chicago and Washington, D.C. skyrocketing 100% this year compared to last. The alarming statistics point to the need for robust preventive measures.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a staggering 2,736 cars are stolen every day in the U.S., amounting to a whopping 82,080 vehicles stolen every month. This concerning trend has sparked concern among Americans, who believe that criminals should be held accountable for their actions.

One resident from Germantown, Tennessee, Perry, recently faced the unfortunate reality of car theft when an employee's new Ford F150 truck was stolen. Worried about the rising sophistication of car thieves, Perry sought advice on how to safeguard their vehicles.

The technological advances employed by thieves make it crucial for car owners to stay one step ahead. Thieves have devised numerous methods to exploit modern security features and gain unauthorized access to vehicles.

To combat these threats and protect your car from theft, consider implementing the following security measures:

A person using a blocking pouch to protect their key fob from being hacked, taken with a Nikon D850.

- Strengthen your online defenses: If you own a keyless car, exercise extra caution. Craft strong passwords for all connected apps and accounts, and consider using a password manager for enhanced security. Never share your passwords with anyone to prevent unauthorized access.

- Invest in a blocking pouch: For keyless entry systems, purchasing a blocking pouch, also known as a Faraday Bag, can shield your key fob from being hacked or cloned by tech-savvy thieves. These pouches block all key fob signals, including WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and RFID, ensuring your car remains secure.

- Embrace a remote car starter: Older vehicles can benefit from having a remote car starter installed. This device allows you to start your engine from a distance, but crucially, it does not enable driving without the key. It adds an extra layer of security and convenience, particularly during extreme weather conditions.

- Lock your doors and close windows: Although seemingly obvious, ensuring your car doors are locked and windows are closed, even when unattended, is the most basic yet effective security measure. Neglecting this simple step can make your vehicle an easy target for opportunistic thieves.

- Opt for well-lit parking: Thieves prefer dark and isolated areas to carry out their crimes undetected. Whenever possible, park your car under streetlights, near security cameras, in busy entrances, or, ideally, within a locked garage. Adequate lighting deters criminals and increases the chances of their capture.

An image of a remote car starter being used to start a vehicle from a distance, taken with a Sony Alpha a7R III.

- Conceal valuables: Avoid leaving any valuable items, such as laptops, phones, wallets, or bags, visible inside your car. Thieves may be tempted to break your windows if they spot enticing items. Either take your valuables with you or store them discreetly in the glove compartment, trunk, or under the seat.

- Enhance security with technology: A smart car alarm is an effective deterrent. Not only does it emit a piercing alarm when a break-in is attempted, but it also sends an alert to your smartphone if you're not within earshot, allowing you to contact authorities promptly.

- Install a kill switch: Adding a kill switch to your car's ignition, fuel line, or battery can prevent unauthorized individuals from starting your vehicle. Remember to activate the kill switch every time you exit your car, rendering it nearly impossible for thieves to drive off.

- Consider VIN window etching: Etching your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) onto your car windows can dissuade potential thieves as it makes your vehicle easier for law enforcement to track. Selling car parts with a visible VIN becomes riskier, further deterring theft.