Are you concerned about the rising rates of car theft in Colorado? Car theft rose in our state by 22% last year.
Read on to learn 8 easy steps and 3 hardcore (yet still easy) techniques that will make you immune to car theft. The last technique is so simple – yet so effective – it’ll make your jaw drop.
It’s hard to believe, but over 750,000 cars get stolen every year.
That’s one car every 44 seconds.
In fact, if you live in Colorado, your used car is twice as likely to be stolen as someone who lives in New York City.¹
Don’t let yours be one of them.
You might think that thieves mostly target high-end sports cars like Porsche or Lamborghini or luxury cars such as Mercedes or Lexus, but that’s not the case.
Surprise! Here are the ten most stolen used cars in Colorado:
- 1997 Honda Accord
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 2006 Ford Pickup (Full size)
- 2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- 2000 Chevrolet Pickup (Full size)
- 2001 Dodge Pickup (Full size)
- 2004 Subaru Impreza
- 2001 Subaru Legacy
- 1997 Toyota Camry
- 2002 Ford Explorer
As you can see, if you drive an older Japanese car, your risk goes way up. Thieves love them for their valuable parts and because they’re easy to steal.
75 percent of the Hondas stolen are from the manufacturing years 1995-2000. The majority of Toyotas, Nissans, and Subarus that are taken come from that era as well.
American trucks are in demand too.
Five of the ten most stolen vehicles are trucks made in the U.S.
If you drive a Japanese car, a truck, or a luxury vehicle, you may need to use the hardcore methods. We’ll get to them shortly.
The good news: you can protect your car from theft. Just follow 8 easy steps.
Also, try three little known techniques that virtually guarantee your vehicle won’t get taken. The last one may be the coolest tip ever to stop thieves from stealing your vehicle.
The 8 Easy Steps
- Don’t leave your car running, don’t leave keys in the ignition and lock the doors – (duh – simple, obvious steps, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t do these things).You might be tempted to leave the car running while you run in to get a quick item from the store. Don’t — you’re asking for trouble. Cars get stolen when people refuse to use common sense. 45% of car thefts are crimes of opportunity. The thief didn’t set out to steal a car; he or she stumbled into a tempting situation. Criminals love cars left running, keys in the ignition, and unlocked doors.
- Don’t leave anything valuable in view – that’s just asking for trouble. Leaving valuables on the seat encourages criminals to smash your window and grab the item(s). Once someone’s in your car, the odds of them stealing it rise exponentially. Take a blanket along on a shopping trip if you must leave bags in the car. Cover everything or put your bags in the trunk.
- Use some type of deterrent – there are several after-market tools to slow down thieves (see below).
- Don’t park in high crime areas – this might be difficult to know, unless you’re from the area, but you can use Google to search crime stats for the neighborhood. On the other hand, if you live in a high crime area, you’re kind of stuck, so you’ll have to utilize the other tips on this list.
- Park in a well lit and highly visible area – this is not always easy to do, but if you have a choice, find the brightest area you can find. The idea here is to avoid places where it’s easy for thieves to steal your car without being seen. Car thieves are like rats; they don’t like the daylight.
- Know if thieves target your make and model – use the hardcore methods (explained later) if your car’s a high theft risk.
- Keep your car in a garage, if possible – out of sight, out of mind.
- Stay aware of your surroundings – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t park your car.
Did you know?
Leaving your car running is a crime in Colorado. The fine’s $15 to $100 per offense. It’s not worth it. Don’t be an easy target, and don’t set yourself up to pay a fine.
Nothing will stop a professional thief from stealing your car, but amateur thieves can be deterred.
Car Theft Deterrents
A professional car thief will have the club removed in 10 seconds. Even so, it does have value. Most amateurs will pick an easier target.
Walmart carries clubs for 15 dollars. If your local store doesn’t have them, plenty of shopping sites do.
A professional disables an alarm in no time. It’s still worth having one to deter amateurs.
Put a sticker on your car to tell the world your car’s alarmed. Stick it somewhere highly visible. The driver side window works, as does the windshield.
An alarm system and installation can run anywhere $50 for a basic alarm, all the way up to $500 for a top of the line model. Shop around. The price can vary from one mechanic to another.
Get the cheapest model available. The cheapest model will deter amateurs, but even the high end alarms won’t slow down a pro. Why spend more than you need to?
Don’t park in high crime areas
High crime areas tend to have more theft. If you must park in one, consider the more hardcore options (we’ll get to them shortly).
Park in a well lit and highly visible area.
Imagine yourself as a car thief. Would you rather work where everyone can see you, or a place where no one can? Don’t make your car an easy target.
Know if thieves target your make and model. Consider one of the hardcore methods (a few paragraphs down) if your car’s a high theft risk.
Keep your car in a garage, if possible
If you own a garage, use it. Thieves can’t steal what they don’t know exists.
Stay aware of your surroundings.
If something doesn’t seem right, don’t park your car.
Always look to see who’s around. If you see people loitering or looking suspicious, park somewhere else. The inconvenience of a little extra walking is nothing. Having your ride stolen sucks!
These options are more extreme, but they virtually guarantee your car won’t get stolen.
If you must park in a bad neighborhood, consider these options.
If you drive a high end, expensive vehicle, you should definitely choose one of these advanced options. And if your car is on the list of most stolen vehicles (see above), you should probably make use of one of these methods as well.
Put a Boot on Your Car
A boot on a wheel stops the wheel from spinning.
They’re available on Ebay and Amazon, starting at 18 dollars.
Boots deter criminals. All but the most determined thieves will move on to easier targets.
Be careful when buying a boot — they come in different sizes. You want to make sure it fits your wheel. Ask the seller if you’re not sure what size you need.
Install a Kill Switch
A kill switch stops your car from starting. They’re installed in hard to find locations. Just flip the switch off when you park, and flip it back on when you’re ready to drive away.
Kill switches cut power to the ignition or fuel system. When you flip the switch/push the button, the power goes back on. Your local installer will be able to suggest good places to hide it.
Kill Switches cost around $25 for parts and $100 for installation. Any decent mechanic should have no trouble putting one in.
Some newer models work remotely. You just push a button on your key chain to lock or unlock the ignition.
The Coolest Way to Stop Car Thieves:
Remove a Part Needed to Start or Drive the Car
I’m not joking.
As difficult as this might sound, it’s actually quite easy..
Not only does removing a part stop theft — it impresses people! Imagine telling your friends about your cool new way of keeping your car safe.
Parts you can remove
Spark Plug Wires
A few cars car might start with one spark plug wire removed. Most won’t. No car starts with two wires taken off.
Once you’ve done this a few times, it takes 20 seconds to pull the wires and another 20-30 to put them back on.
If your have a newer car you won’t have plug wires; you’ll have coil packs. The same principle applies.
A thief won’t damage the car trying to start it. Mechanics often turn a car on with a spark plug removed for testing purposes.
Pull the ignition fuse out and put it in your pocket. Put the fuse back in before you drive off. Better yet, pull the ignition and fuel pump fuses.
Most fuses are somewhere near the drivers’ or passengers’ leg space. If you’re not sure how to find them, ask your favorite mechanic. It’ll take him half a minute to show you.
The thief won’t damage your car trying to start it. He’ll think the problem is a kill switch and look for an easier target.
The Steering Wheel
You can buy kits that allow you to easily disconnect and reconnect the steering wheel. If you must park in a bad neighborhood (you live or work there), this is highly recommended. No one can drive a car without a steering wheel!
Expect to spend about $100 for a good quick release steering hub kit.
Don’t go with a cheap option. The cheaper brands are known to have problems — like falling off while driving down the street!
Installation shouldn’t cost more than $100 or so. Any mechanic can install the kit for you.
8 Easy Steps to Stop Your Car From Being Stolen
- Don’t leave the car running, and don’t leave keys in the ignition. Lock the doors.
- Don’t leave anything valuable in sight
- Use some type of deterrent
- Don’t park in high crime areas
- Park in a well-lit and highly visible area.
- Know if thieves target your make and model. Consider one of the more extreme methods if this is the case.
- Keep your car in a garage, if possible
- Stay aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t park your car.
More Extreme Yet Easy Techniques
- Put a boot on your car
- Install a kill switch
- Remove a part needed to start or drive the car — the coolest option ever
Car Theft Kryptonite
And finally, you could buy one of the following cars instead. These are the least stolen cars. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can buy one of these and be careless. These vehicles aren’t magic, they’re just less attractive to thieves for some reason.
- Audi A6 all-wheel-drive, large luxury car
- Mercury Mariner (2009-10) small SUV
- Chevrolet Equinox (2010) midsize SUV
- Volkswagen CC (2009-10), midsize car
- Chevrolet Equinox four-wheel-drive (2010) midsize SUV
- Lexus RX 350 (2010) midsize luxury SUV
- Saturn Vue midsize SUV
- Chevrolet Aveo (2009-10) mini station wagon
- BMW 5 Series all-wheel-drive large luxury car
- Mini Cooper Clubman two-door car
http://lockdownyourcar.org – Coloradans against auto theft