Auto Theft Prevention Tips
You Can Prevent Auto Theft
Most cars are taken by amateurs who can be stopped fairly easily. You can increase your protection against this type of crime by taking the following sensible precautions:
- An unlocked car is an open invitation to a thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
- Lock the trunk or tailgate.
- Close all windows — professional thieves have tools that unlock cars through the smallest openings.
- Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
- When you park the car, remove cellular phones, cassette players and other valuable possessions. Do not leave gift-wrapped packages or cameras lying on the seat. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
- Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store, or mini-mall.
- Don’t leave an auto in unattended public parking lots for an extended period. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.
- If possible, park your car in a lot where you don’t have to leave your keys.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home. If you have to leave your keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.
- At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
- Turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking. This makes it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
Use anti-theft devices
- When buying a car, check the manufacturer’s list of anti-theft options, such as interior hood and trunk releases, locking steering columns and others.
- Consider the purchase and installation of security devices, such as
- Interior hood lock release
- Second ignition switch or “kill switch” to prevent electrical current from reaching the coil distributor
- Fuel switch to prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor
- Locking gas cap
- Locking devices for batteries, wheels, decks, etc.
- Alarm device to activate a siren, horn or lights — or all three — to frighten the thief away
- Device that attaches to the steering wheel or brake pedal
This violent, random form of auto theft is on the rise. A driver of any vehicle can be a target of someone with a weapon. It can happen anywhere, day or night. Here are some precautions:
- Keep your doors locked.
- Park in well-lit, busy areas.
- Be alert of your surroundings, of people approaching your vehicle.
- Stick with traffic, avoid lightly traveled streets, especially after dark.
- Keep car and house keys on separate key chains.
- Keep the garage door opener in your purse or briefcase.
- When stopped in traffic, always leave enough room to make an emergency getaway.
- If someone is threatening you with a weapon, give up the vehicle — it is not worth your life.
How to prevent theft of other motor vehicles
Thefts of snowmobiles, motorcycles, boats, and trail-bikes are also increasing. Many of the same precautions that apply to cars also apply to recreational vehicles.
- Make sure all easy-to-carry items like motors, water skis, and camping gear are locked up before leaving your vehicle.
- Vehicles carried on trailers should be secured with a strong chain and padlock.
- When the trailer is not attached to your car, secure it with a heavy chain and lock it to a stationary object.
- Chain your motorcycle or snowmobile to a stationary object such as a lamp post or sewer grating. Even when your vehicle is in the garage, use a heavy chain and padlock that resists conventional steel hacksaw blades.
A Parent’s Responsibility
In a home where guns are kept, the degree of safety a child rests squarely on the child’s parents. Parents who accept the responsibility to learn, practice, and teach gun safety rules will ensure theirchild’s safety to a much greater extent than those who do not. Parental responsibility does not end, however, when the child leaves the home.
According to federal statistics, there are guns in approximately half of all U.S. households. Even if no one in your family owns a gun, chances are that someone you know does. Your child could come in contact with a gun at a neighbor’s house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances outside your home. It is critical for your child to know what to do if he or she encounters a firearm anywhere, and it is the parent’s responsibility to provide that training.
Why Teach Your Child Gun Safety
There is no particular age to talk with your child about gun safety. A good time to introduce the
subject is the first time he or she shows an interest in firearms, even toy pistols or rifles. Talking openly and honestly about gun safety with your child is usually more effective than just ordering him or her to “stay out of the gun closet” and leaving it at that. Such statements may just stimulate a child’s natural curiosity to investigate further.
As with any safety lesson, explaining the rules and answering a child’s questions helps remove the mystery surrounding guns. Any rules set for your own child should also apply to friends who visit the home. This will help keep your child from being pressured into showing a gun to a friend.
Toys Guns vs. Real Guns
It is also advisable, particularly with very young children, to discuss gun use on television as
opposed to gun use in real life. Firearms are often handled carelessly in movies and on TV.
Additionally, children see TV and movie characters shot and “killed” with well-documented frequency. When a young child sees that same actor appear in another movie or TV show, confusion between entertainment and real life may result. It may be a mistake to assume that your child knows the difference between being “killed” on TV and in reality.
If your child has toy guns, you may want to use them to demonstrate safe gun handling and to
explain how they differ from genuine firearms. Even though an unsupervised child should not have access to a gun, there should be no chance that he or she could mistake a real gun for a toy.
What Should You Teach Your Child About Gun Safety?
If you have decided that your child is not ready to be trained in a gun’s handling and use, explain that he or she must not touch a gun in your home, unless you are present and have given permission. If your child sees a gun outside the home, teach him or her the following:
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.
The initial steps of “Stop”; and “Don’t Touch”; are the most important. To counter the natural impulse to touch a gun, it is imperative that you impress these steps of the safety message upon your child.
In today’s society, where adult supervision is not always possible, the direction to “Leave the Area” is also essential. Under some circumstances, “area” may be understood to be a room if your child cannot physically leave the apartment or house. “Tell an Adult” emphasizes that children should seek a trustworthy adult – neighbor, relative, or teacher – if a parent or guardian is not available.
Common Sense Gun Safety
Follow these three fundamental rules in any situation. Whether or not you own a gun, it is important to know these rules so that you may insist that others follow them.
Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Whether you are shooting or simply handling a gun, never point it at yourself or others. Common sense will tell you which direction is the safest. Outdoors, it is generally safe to point the gun toward the ground, or, if you are on a shooting range, toward the target. Indoors, be mindful of the fact that a bullet can penetrate ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and doors.
Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When handling a gun, people have a natural tendency to put their finger on the trigger. Do not touch the trigger unless you are actually preparing to fire the gun.
Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
If you do not know how to check to see if a gun is loaded, leave it alone. Carefully secure it, being certain to point it safely and to keep your finger off the trigger, and seek competent assistance.
Gun Owners’ Responsibilities
Most states impose some form of legal duty on adults to take reasonable steps to deny access by children to dangerous substances or instruments. It is the individual gun owner’s responsibility to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchase, ownership, storage, transport, etc. If you choose to own a gun, you have a responsibility to set a positive example.
If you do not know how to operate a gun, do not experiment with it. An untrained adult can be as dangerous as a curious child.
Store guns so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users. Gun shops and sporting goods stores sell a wide variety of safes, cases, and other security devices. While specific security measures may vary, a parent must, in every case, assess the exposure of the firearm and absolutely assure that it is inaccessible to a child.
This information is not intended as a complete course in gun safety and is not a substitute for formal, qualified instruction in the handling, use, or storage of firearms. The guidelines herein should be considered options to minimize the chance of an accident occurring in the home.
Helpful Holiday Tips
Christmas is a time of year during which many of us will be busy shopping and running errands in order to be ready for the Holiday Celebration. We must not forget that criminals will also be out and about looking for easy targets to make a big score.
Here are some simple tips that can reduce your
chances of becoming a victim of crime:
In parking lots, always be aware of your surroundings
Don’t display large sums of cash. Use credit cards and personal checks whenever possible.
Always have your car keys in your hand when walking in parking areas.
When possible, shop with a friend or spouse.
Most malls provide security personnel to escort you to your vehicle. Don’t be ashamed to
Never leave valuables in plain view inside your vehicle. This is what many criminals look for, an easy target.
Always scan the parking lot for suspicious persons or vehicles before you park and exit your vehicle.
Report all suspicious persons and vehicles to police immediately
Don’t display gifts under your tree from a front window of your home. Although this looks
pretty, it can be attractive to would-be thieves.