The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Top 5 Ways to Help Protect Your Car from a Break-In

In an reported “random act” of vandalism, a rash of tire slashings occurred in northwest Glendale on luxury cars and SUVs. The vandalized high-end cars — including BMWs, Lexuses, Cadillacs, Audis, Mercedes-Benzes, and Porsches — were parked in home driveways and on dimly lighted streets, otherwise known as a vandal’s paradise. In a Smokey Bear teachable moment, the police reminded people to always take precautions to protect your car from vandalism and break-ins.

Here are five easy ways to help protect your car from vandalism or a break-in:

1. Park in well-lit areas.

The police advise drivers to always park in well-lit areas. This is because if your car is under a streetlamp, a vandal or burglar will feel too exposed and may not target your car. Cars parked in shadowy areas are much more attractive for break-ins.

2. Install motion lights in driveways or park in your garage.

Exterior lighting is also a useful precaution against break-ins. If you park on your driveway, a motion sensor light is a must. The street lamp exposure in tip #1 applies to motion sensors as well. As soon as the motion sensor light clicks on, they get the idea: we are watching you. But make sure to keep the light in a spot that isn't easy to reach, or else the bulb can be easily unscrewed.

3. Always lock your car.

Break-ins happen incredibly quickly. When you leave your car unlocked for "just a sec" to grab something inside, you're inviting trouble. In the span of a minute, you can come back to find your phone, stereo, CDs and other random awesome stuff gone. Almost one-fourth of thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars.

4. Keep valuables in your trunk.

When your valuables are not in plain sight, thieves won't know what they're missing. This, of course, is more tricky for people with SUVs and vans that have a connected trunk area. For those people, one option is to get a retractable fitted cover to keep valuables hidden.

5. Trust your gut.

After the tire slashings, the police reminded everyone that the most important thing is to watch out for each other and call in anything suspicious. If you suspect something sketchy is going on, trust your instinct, park somewhere else and let the police know.

The moral of the story: Let in the light and watch out for each other, especially if you're in California.

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