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Avoid Car Break Ins - Don't get Grinched!

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2022
As Christmas shopping and traveling is in full swing, we wanted to touch base and remind you that car break ins are also on the rise.

I had a chat with a police officer earlier last week, and he told me that that was majority of all of his responding calls the past few weeks. Almost every day, he had dozens and dozens of responding calls to cars that were broken in, glass shattered, or attempted break ins. And as the snow starts approaching this week, he anticipates more and more car thefts as people leave their cars running out front of their houses.

So, we compiled a list to help you keep your vehicle and your items safe!

1. If you can, try parking your vehicle in a well-lit area. Use your driveway if you have one, and if you have a garage, clear out some space to utilize the parking in it. Try not to park behind a tree or shrub if it makes it less visible from your home. If you live in an apartment complex or condo, try using a parking garage that has security or parking near a camera.

2. Cameras and security lights work wonders! Homes that have some kind of security system in place seem to have less break ins as it deters thieves more!

3. Never leave valuables in site in your vehicle. This includes purses, wallets, electronics, empty boxes, packages, money/change, keys and even charging cords. If you have to have them in your vehicle, store them in a locked glove box or in the trunk.

4. If you do leave items in your trunk - never transfer them into your trunk where people may see them. This happened to my brother one year, he forgot to lock his car and that night a thief opened his car and popped his trunk and stole all his Christmas gifts!

5. If you are traveling out of state, your car can automatically become a target. Different license plates or a different car parked where it normally isn't? That's signs of someone visiting for the holidays that may have some Christmas presents in the vehicle.

6. Make sure your car insurance covers the contents in your vehicle just in case your vehicle does get broken into or stolen!

7. If you are out and about shopping, make sure to store all bags, boxes and packages in a locked trunk. Park as close as you can next to a busy area, like a cart corral or the front entrance. If there is a police officer parked in the parking lot, try to park near them for a free sense of security.

8. And the most common-sense reminder: Always keep your windows up and your doors locked. Lots of small-time thieves are just walking through neighborhoods looking for an easy target, and if your car door is locked, or your window is up, it's too much work for them to just grab and go!

And here are some tips to avoid having your car just flat out stolen:

9. When starting your car in the morning to de-ice your windshield, make sure to lock your vehicle. Ideally, a car with automatic start is the best route to go. Start your car and keep your keys inside the house. Even if a thief were to break a window and go, the car will not go far without the keys in the vehicle. - Consider asking Santa for an auto start from a dealer if you do not have one!

10. If your car is key start only, have an additional key made so you can lock the doors while the vehicle warms up.

11. Never leave your vehicle warm up for more than necessary time. Normally it only takes 10 minutes for your car to warm up.

12. If you warm up your vehicle in a garage, crack the garage door just a bit so the carbon monoxide doesn't overwhelm in the garage - this could cause Carbon Monoxide poisoning! And you should NEVER sit in the vehicle in a closed space while it warms up - or let your children/pets sit in it!

13. Try staying near your vehicle as it warms up - driveway or in a window view from the office. You can even do the buddy system and sit in a co-worker's car while yours warms up.

And some general car safety tips:

14. Plugging in a diesel vehicle? Make sure your cord is where people cannot trip over it or you don't destroy it with a snow blower - oof!

15. Make sure your wiper blades are good to go, your tires are where they need to be with air (and they have tread) and your car is mechanically sound.

16. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle just in case of emergencies.

17. Weigh down your car with kitty litter in the trunk. It also helps if you get stuck in snow or on ice to help gain traction!

18. Keep an ice scraper in your vehicle. Don't have one until you get one? A spatula or other impromptu item can work - be creative! Never throw hot water on a frozen windshield! (Don't ask me how I know this, I was young!)

19. Plan your trip. Take extra time when it's snowy or icy outside. Never rush, you will get there when you get there and speeding on top of bad weather can have a bad outcome!

20. Make sure all your insurance documents are up to date and leave them in your locked glove box!

We hope this helps you this holiday and winter season!