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Tis the Season to Prevent Auto Break-Ins

Tis the Season to Prevent Auto Break-Ins

November 21, 2018

By Blair Qualey

Over the next several weeks, many of us will be consumed by the prospect of holiday shopping – and dare I say, some people are already getting ahead of the rush. However, they are not alone – as this is also the time of season when would-be thieves are looking for any opportunity to make their own holiday season just a little richer at your expense – so don’t give them the opportunity.

According to police data, 56,600 vehicles were broken into in 2017 – many of those during the holiday season – because car or truck owners have allowed their vehicle to be an appealing target.

Theft of items from vehicles is a preventable crime and there are some steps you can take to help prevent thieves from breaking into your vehicle – the most obvious being, avoid leaving anything visible in your car.

Here are ICBC’s top five vehicle break-in prevention tips:

• Keep valuables, gifts and parcels out of sight in the trunk and don’t leave them in the vehicle for long periods of time. Even items such as change, and pop cans can tempt thieves.
• While shopping, try not to unload gifts in your vehicle and then leave it unattended in the same parking spot.
• Park in well-lit areas and use parking lots frequented by others.
• Always lock your doors and close your windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a minute.
• Keep your keys secure at all times. Don’t leave your keys unguarded — even at a restaurant or the gym. Treat your keys like cash.

Some of the most common items to be stolen out of vehicles – aside from Christmas gifts during the holiday season – are smart phones and other electronics, such as laptops and tablets, but thieves will also break in if they can see spare change, empty pop bottles, umbrellas or other relatively inexpensive items.
At this time of year, police also report more auto thefts because people leave their vehicles unlocked and running during winter months – so don’t leave your car unattended while it’s warming up – and never leave your spare car key hidden anywhere in your vehicle.

Also, be aware that crooks will sometimes steal garage door remotes and your address from your vehicle registration paperwork. In order to protect yourself, never place your remote in plain sight. In situations where you may be forced to park your vehicle in a less than ideal location, take the remote with you and make a copy of your vehicle registration and black out your home address in a copy you keep in your glove compartment. Keep the original with your address in a safe place at home.

Take some of these rules to heart to deter vehicle break-ins and theft – and the associated hassle that comes with having to visit a glass replacement or windshield replacement shop while lamenting your lost possessions.

Don’t give a Grinch the satisfaction that comes with presenting an easy target. Enjoy the onset of the holiday season and don’t become a victim.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca

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