Last year, there were a rash of car break-ins at my gym. Fortunately, I was not affected. The thieves gained entry with the smash-and-grab approach because the purses and wallets that were stolen were visible from the outside. Apparently, this is a common occurrence at gyms because experienced thieves know that many of us don’t take our purses or wallets with us when we work out.
The gym is not the only place this happens though. We have a sense of complacency in our daily lives. We visit a store or business on a regular basis, so we assume our valuables left behind are safe. You may think, “this won’t happen to me,” or “I’ll only be gone a minute,” but a minute may be all it takes to lose something valuable. Also vulnerable are electronics, such as cell phones, laptops, GPS, etc. A cell phone charger left behind unattached to the phone may give a thief reason to think the phone itself is hidden elsewhere in the car. While you may think moving valuables to your trunk before leaving is a good idea, even then you are at risk. A friend of mine had her luggage stolen from the trunk of her car because the thief observed her loading it in before she left.
In addition to locking your car door before leaving and keeping valuables out of plain sight, the Trip Savvy offers these tips:
- Clean your windshield – removes evidence of a previously mounted GPS unit.
- Take your valuables with you.
- Park smart – park in a well-lit area with other people around.
You could also consider installing a car alarm if you frequently park in a high-crime area. It’s also important to keep the inside of your car clutter free. For example, an empty bag or blanket could make a thief believe you are trying to hide something valuable.
We are all in a hurry, but as Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While he was referring to fire safety, it can be applied to protecting your valuables as well. Lastly and most importantly, if you encounter someone breaking into your car, call the police or dial 911 immediately.