Property crimes are a major concern for residents and police throughout Alberta. But you don’t have to be a victim. Smart car owners prevent some of these crimes by understanding how thieves choose their targets.
It’s important for every driver to know how to avoid car break-ins and what to do after a thief has entered their vehicle.
Stop Car Break-Ins Before They Happen
Of course, there is no foolproof way to keep your vehicle safe. But you can reduce the likeliness that someone breaks a car window to steal property.
Don’t Leave Valuable Things in the Car
You may think your vehicle is safe if your phone is in your pocket or your computer case is empty. The person breaking into the car, however, won’t know that until they damage a window or door to take a peek.
Be sure to take your purse, wallet, computer case and cellphone out of the car when you exit. Anything else of value that must remain in the car should be hidden from view before you get out. Electronics, chargers, briefcases, shopping bags, even loose change could all be an unnecessary lure. For security reasons, it’s especially important not to leave garage door operators or house keys in the vehicle.
The best way to prevent thieves from breaking into your car is to keep the interior of the vehicle clean and everything out of sight. This will help you avoid the hassle and expense of replacing car glass.
Always Lock Your Car
Some car owners decide to leave their doors unlocked to avoid dealing with a break-in or a broken window. This isn’t a great strategy. Depending on the vehicle model, thieves may be able to access valuables locked in the trunk from inside the car. This also may be putting you and your family at greater risk by allowing access to sensitive information on papers and car insurance documents kept in the glove box.
Before you leave the vehicle, roll up the windows and lock the doors. If you have a car alarm system, activate it each time you leave your car.
When parking your car, look for an area where you can safely leave it for a period of time. Choose parking lots where there are lights and regular traffic. You won’t want to leave it somewhere poorly lit or remote. If it’s possible, avoid leaving the car unattended for multiple days.
What to Do After a Break-In
Unfortunately, break-ins do happen. If thieves have damaged or entered your car, you will need to act quickly.
- Contact the Police – Don’t touch or drive the car until the crime has been adequately recorded. Notify the local police to file a report. Depending on the procedure in your jurisdiction, they may meet you where the vehicle is parked or you may need to go to the police station to do this. You will need your driver’s license, registration and insurance information to file a report.
- Make a Record – You should also take pictures before attempting to clean up. Take the time to make a detailed list of items that you believe were stolen or damaged. If credit or debit cards were among the things taken, be sure to cancel them immediately and contact your bank as soon as possible.
- File an Insurance Claim – If the value of damage done during a break-in is more than your insurance deductible, it’s best to file a claim. Broken windows, paint scratches and other damage to the car should be reported to your car insurance carrier. Personal possessions stolen during a break-in will need to be filed under your rental or homeowner’s insurance.
- Schedule Repairs – Have car glass and other damage repaired or replaced right away. This will help safeguard your vehicle from further damage and theft.