• iCare Community Magazine

From the Sheriff, Noel E. Stephen


Protecting Your Vehicle


KEEP YOUR VALUABLES AND POSSESSIONS SAFE


Don’t leave anything on display in your car. Even an old coat on the back seat is a temptation for someone to “smash and grab.” Thieves steal first and think about value later. Thieves will smash

a car window just to look inside a bag or box to see if it contains anything of value. Even if it contains nothing, you will be left with a broken window or door lock. Take all your belongings with you when you leave the car. If you can’t, lock them in the trunk, preferably before you start your journey.


Never leave any of the following on display in your car, as they are all particularly attractive to car thieves:

• Cell phones, GPS receivers, laptops and iPods (or any other type of easy to sell electronics)

• Checkbooks, credit cards and debit cards

• Cash (including loose change in the ashtray)

• Vehicle registration documents (these should always be carried on your person) Private mail (especially if it has your address on it)

• Wallets and purses


Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you live in a low crime area, you can leave items in your car or leave car doors unlocked.


Don’t leave garage door activators in your parked car. Thieves will have easy access to your garage and sometimes your entire home if the door from the garage into your home interior is unsecured.


DOORS AND WINDOWS: Lock all doors and close all windows and the sunroof every time you leave your car unattended – however briefly. Many cars get broken into in the few seconds that a car is out of the driver’s sight.


SECURITY DEVICES ARE ALWAYS GREAT WAYS TO SECURE YOUR CAR AND PUT OFF WOULD-BE THIEVES:

Electronic immobilizers (which prevent the car from starting) are a sure way to put off car thieves. Mechanical immobilizers, such as steering-wheel locks, are a good alternative to electronic immobilizers.

They are not expensive and are easy to fit yourself. Commonly called clubs, collars, or j-bars, these devices lock to the steering wheel, column or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a

few degrees.


Fit locking wheel nuts, as wheels are often a target for car thieves. Wheel nuts are not expensive and are easy to fit.


An alarm can help to keep your car secure but it must be installed professionally to be effective. If you live in a high theft area or drive an automobile that’s an attractive target for thieves, you may get a

discount from your insurance company.


You should also purchase a locking gas cap. A locking gas cap means the thief won’t be able to put gas in your stolen car - shortening his joy ride.


SECURITY MARKING: Consider marking all your valuables, especially those that you frequently take in your car. Mark items with your ZIP CODE or some other unique identifying number linked to a recognized database. If any of your valuables have serial numbers, keep a note of them in a safe place. This should help the police return your possessions to you if they are stolen and recovered. It also helps

to convict criminals.


CONSUMER ELECTRONICS: Always remove your in-car electronic equipment, particularly satellite navigation devices and car stereos, if you can – these are the most sought-after items in your car.

With satellite navigation equipment, remember also to remove any support cradle and suction pads, and wipe away any suction pad marks on the windscreen and dashboard as thieves will look out for these.


All in-car electronic equipment – whether you can remove it or not – should be permanently marked, in a visible place, with the vehicle’s registration number or some other unique identifying number linked to

a recognized database. Make a note of the equipment’s serial number and keep it in a safe place.


Pawn shops are regularly checked for stolen goods by comparing serial numbers. When choosing electronic equipment, look for models with anti-theft security features.

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