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Blog category: Driving

Prevent Car Theft: Avoid Parking in These 6 Areas

4 min read

Car thefts have been increasing over the past couple of years with a vehicle now being stolen every 36 seconds, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

FBI Car Theft Statistics

  • Top three states with highest incidences: Colorado, Washington, D.C., and California
  • Most cars are taken from outside owners’ homes
  • More likely to happen on weekends
  • Daytime thefts now represent just under 50% of all thefts
  • The rate of recovered cars is only 27% (but this is an improvement on previous stats)

Source: NICB

Keep Your Car Safe

Brazen carjackers can take your beloved ride from you while you’re stopped at a light or pulling into your driveway — perish the thought. But the easiest and most common way for a car thief to relieve you of your vehicle is while it’s parked and you’re elsewhere.

While car safety features like alarms and tracking devices act as a deterrent, the most effective way to protect your car and its parts is to avoid leaving it in specific locations.

Read on to discover a few of the places to avoid parking your car — if you want it to be there upon your return.

Anywhere Overnight

You may feel lucky when you find a great parking spot on a busy street thronging with shoppers or folks heading to dinner. But imagine a few hours later when the same street is deserted. Empty, dark streets are car thieves’ accomplices. So, if you plan to leave your car somewhere overnight, at least put it in a parking garage with security cameras. If you’re at your residence, park your vehicle in the garage if you have one. It stands to reason that if no one can see or access your car, it will remain much safer.

In Your Driveway

Even your own driveway can be a risk for car theft. "Puffing," or leaving a car running unattended, is a common practice among drivers during winter months but is a growing problem for car owners. A recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found an increase of over 20% in thefts facilitated by keys from 2019 to 2021, with just over 100,000 cases reported nationally, accounting for 11% of all vehicle thefts in the US in 2021. Seasonal trends show an increase in thefts with keys during colder months, making "puffing" a prime target for car thieves. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warns drivers of the dangers of leaving their cars running unattended, even in their own driveways, making them easy targets for theft. To prevent car theft, the NICB recommends locking vehicles, setting alarms, and taking all keys or fobs when leaving the car.

Unpopulated Areas

It can be tempting to opt for a parking spot on a quiet side street or alley rather than compete for the busier main street spaces. But if you can score a spot on a busy thoroughfare, your chances of keeping your car safe increase significantly. Some bold criminals will still try to steal your car or break in if they spot valuables within, but most will target vehicles where there’s little or no foot traffic.

Badly Lit or Dark Spots

Parking your car in isolated and dark areas is a big no-no when preventing theft. These areas provide a perfect cover for thieves, as there are no witnesses or security cameras to deter them. Parking near a busy street or in a well-lit parking lot, can deter thieves and make it easier for witnesses to identify and report any suspicious activity.

Note: If your home, where you park your car, is not well-lit, you can add motion detection lights to increase visibility and deter thieves. Motion detection lights will turn on when they detect movement, providing added security to your car and your home. It's important to park in areas that are well-lit and monitored, as this makes it harder for thieves to break into your car unnoticed. Always choose parking areas that are well-lit and have good visibility, and avoid parking in isolated and dark areas as much as possible.

High-Crime Areas

When it comes to auto thefts or break-ins, the areas with higher crime stats are not limited to the seedier, rundown parts of town. Many upscale neighborhoods are plagued with car theft and vandalism for the simple reason that there are more high-end vehicles present. The re-sale of stolen luxury cars or their parts is highly profitable for criminals.

Empty Lots

Leaving your car in an abandoned or even temporarily empty lot, like in an office park or on school property, is not a great idea. Again, any area devoid of pedestrians or other drivers is an open invitation to car thieves. If they don’t make off with your car or break your window for a smash-and-grab, your catalytic converter is worth its weight in precious metals — literally.

As the price of these metals rises, so too do the incidences of catalytic converter theft. Thieves are becoming increasingly bold and will steal the converters in broad daylight in busy areas, but an unoccupied car in an abandoned lot makes all types of car theft easier.

You can thwart would-be car thieves and keep your vehicle safe. Install a theft-prevention device if it doesn’t come standard with your vehicle and use common sense when leaving your car anywhere. And finally, check with a Wawanesa agent to make sure your auto policy has all the coverage you need.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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