Car theft has become a serious problem in Oklahoma City. In the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Hot Spots 2011 report, the city ranks 17th on the list of the top 20 American cities with the highest auto theft rates. In 2012, the bureau has recorded 6,005 car theft incidents.
Now that vehicle theft is more prevalent than ever in Oklahoma City, it is crucial for all car owners to take the necessary steps to prevent themselves from being victims. Regardless if you have paid for your car in cash or through financing, the investment you have made is huge and you should therefore do what you can to deter thieves. Protect your car from being stolen by doing the following:
Park in the right places
It is best to park your car in highly visible, well-lit and busy areas. A thief wouldn’t proceed with his plans if there is a good chance he will be seen and caught stealing. Choose an off the road spot, if possible. You should avoid parking the vehicle on the back lot of malls, sporting arenas and other commercial establishments.
If you must leave your car in a car park, select a secure one, particularly that whose entry and exit are monitored. Refrain from leaving the vehicle in a car park for an extended period of time.
If you are going to park outside your home, leave the vehicle with its front facing a barrier. Turn the wheels towards the curb. Don’t forget to lock the steering.
When parking at home, keep the vehicle off the road. If you have a garage, store your car there. A locked gate will also help you deter thieves. In the absence of a garage or locked gate, your driveway will do—just make sure to pull in as far as possible.
Secure the vehicle
Keep all windows and sunroof closed. Keep doors and the trunk locked. The car doors must be locked, even when driving. Don’t leave the vehicle running unattended, especially with the keys in the ignition, just to warm the vehicle or to get something inside the house. If you do, you give thieves the opportunity to steal your vehicle and do it fast. Even if you will be gone for just a few minutes, keep your vehicle safe by locking doors, closing windows and getting your keys.
Hide your keys
Speaking of keys, you should secure these in order to secure your car. Keep them out of plain sight. At home, don’t leave them just lying around in table tops or desks. Also, avoid hanging them in hooks clearly seen from the door or window. Store your keys in a hidden location.
It is not a good idea to keep a spare set of keys on or near the vehicle. Thieves may access the keys by checking out the locations where people usually hide such item. It is also not a good idea to mark your car keys, spare or not, with your name and address.
Keep your valuables out of sight
Sometimes, what makes a car appealing to thieves are the items found inside. Laptops, expensive gadgets, bags and articles of clothing left inside the car give criminals a reason to break a window and steal. Therefore, avoid leaving personal belongings inside the vehicle. If you must leave your stuff inside your car, keep them out of sight by storing them in the trunk.
Remove vehicle documents
Don’t leave the vehicle title and registration inside the car. If someone steals your car, he or she can get away with the crime even when pulled over because he or she has the documents. With the documents in hand, the criminal can also sell the car in the black market easier.
Opt for VIN etching
Have the vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car etched on each of its windows. VIN etching would help deter thieves because this makes the car (or its windows) harder to sell.
Invest in anti-theft devices
Don’t choose car alarms or other anti-theft devices based on price alone. Know that the cheaper ones are easier to deactivate.
Experts recommend installing protection like immobilizing and tracking devices. Immobilizing devices include ‘smart keys,’ those that prevent the ignition from starting. As for tracking devices, these include that which alerts the owner when the vehicle is taken.
The car you drive may or may not make you more susceptible to car theft. According to the police, cars most likely to be stolen in Oklahoma City are Honda Accords, Honda Civics as well as Chevy 1500 and F150 pickups.