Most of us take a reasonable amount of care to protect our homes—we keep our doors and windows locked and our garage doors down when we are away. You may be surprised to discover that a non-secure vehicle can put your home at a greater risk for burglary.
Thieves prey on the unprepared and look for every leverage point possible when finding targets for their crimes. Your car may well contain items that will make a burglar’s job significantly easier when it comes to relieving you of the belongings you believe to be safe and secure in your home. Anything you leave in your car that provides information regarding your home’s location or easier access to your home can make a thief’s day (and ruin yours). Areas that are especially appealing for car thieves looking to become home burglars include airports, sports stadiums, theme parks, and shopping malls. These locations all have something in common: crowded parking lots and a degree of assurance that the driver will be away from home for a while.
Many men and women are guilty of leaving wallets and purses in consoles and on car seats, thinking that the items are safe in the confines of a locked vehicle—wrong. A smash and grab that yields a purse or wallet can provide a thief with your home address. If your purse happens to contain your garage door opener or if the opener is clipped to your car’s visor, the thief won’t even have to break into your home; all he has to do is drive to the address he read from the driver’s license he found in your wallet and press a button.
Do you keep a GPS device in your car? This is another option thieves are using to locate vacant homes. GPS devices typically provide the option to store locations so many owners set “Home” as a waypoint. A savvy thief can use your GPS to drive directly to your house. An integrated navigation system doesn’t provide additional protection if the thief decides to take your car along with the rest of your belongings.
It only takes a small bit of planning to provide protection from some major potential problems. Here are some guidelines (besides keeping your car locked) to keep a step ahead of would-be burglars.
1. Keep your wallet or purse with you and do not leave any documents in view in your car that would provide information regarding the location of your home. Keep these documents on your person or in a locked glove compartment or console.
2. If you have a garage door opener, keep it in your trunk or another lockable location in your vehicle if the car is going to be parked for a while.
3. Non-integrated GPS devices should be stowed or removed when your car is parked.
4. If you have a “Home” waypoint in your GPS, set it to a location near your home, like a fire department or police station. You should also delete any routes or trails stored in your GPS that could lead a thief back to your home.
5. Keep alcohol wipes in your car to clean the tell-tale suction cup mark left on your window when you remove your GPS mount.
A little common sense goes a long way when providing an extra layer of security for both your vehicle and your home. Think ahead and feel secure.