Nobody wants to have their car stolen, and certainly nobody wants to be involved in a car jacking. Unfortunately, however, these illegal and dangerous acts do occur, so here are four ways to help minimize your risks.
1. Use a steering-wheel locking device
Use an easily installable mechanical device that locks to the steering wheel or steering column
Until you unlock it, nobody can turn the steering wheel, which means nobody can drive the car away
Best of all, these clubs, collars or J-bars are highly visible, so they act as a deterrent. If car thieves spy a good auto theft device, they’re likely to look for another car to steal
2. Park using these special tricks
On the street, park between two other cars (practice that parallel parking!) and turn your wheels towards the curb
Thieves are looking for fast getaways, and the last thing they want to do is waste time manoeuvring out of a tight spot
Take your ticket with you when you park in a parking garage — and never leave the ticket in plain sight on your dashboard
If your home has a garage, always use I
The more light and traffic around, the safer the parking place. Car thieves hate audiences
3. Pay attention to prevent carjacking
Carjacking is a violent crime in which the thieves physically overpower you to take your car — and sometimes you with it.
Your first line of defence against carjacking (and most other street crime) is to be aware of your environment at all times and hyperaware at key times.
Here are a few strategies to remember.
- Be especially careful when you are approaching or leaving your vehicle. Don’t park in deserted spots, in areas with obstructed vision (because of trees and walls), near a big van with no windows or near somebody who’s just sitting inside a nearby car
- Once you park, look around again to scan the area, ready to drive away if anybody approaches. Then get out, lock up quickly and walk away
- Reverse the strategy coming back to the car. Never turn your back to load groceries, kids or anything else. Make it a habit to start your car and drive away quickly. Keep your antennae up in unusual situations
4. Survive a carjacking
If you’re confronted by an armed carjacker, don’t resist. However, never agree to be kidnapped if you can avoid it. Wherever they take you will probably be more dangerous than where they are confronting you. If you’re still outside the car, drop the car keys and run for help if you can, screaming all the way. If you’re forced to drive, you have to assess the situation and the degree of danger. Consider crashing your car intentionally near a busy intersection to attract attention.
For women only. Unfortunately, the threat of attack is always a consideration for women. By following some simple safety precautions, you can greatly lower your risk.
- Travel in pairs when possible and carry ID in case you have an accident or are in some other way incapacitated
- Meet new dates or study buddies in a public place and be sure to tell someone where you’re going and with whom
- Keep your entrance well-lit and open your door only as far as the security chain permits when a stranger comes knocking
Of course, you can’t predict the future (or the actions of car thieves), but these measures will help to minimize your risks. Being aware of your surroundings and making smart choices to avoid putting yourself at risk can go a long way to deterring auto theft.