Vehicle thefts have become less common recently. They peaked at 1.7 million cases in 1991 and fell to just 721,885 cases across the United States in 2019. However, things changed in 2020 when numbers started to increase again. A lot of these were ‘smash and grab’ thefts.
With this method of stealing, thieves would smash car windows and grab valuable items inside the vehicle. If you fall victim to ‘smash and grab’ you suffer double the losses. Not only do you have to replace the valuable items. You also have to get your broken car windows replaced.
Thankfully, you can take precautionary measures to protect your car from smash and grab theft.
1. Avoid leaving valuable items inside your vehicle.
Your best defense against ‘smash and grab’ thieves is to not leave any valuables behind. Thieves usually target bags, smartphones, tablets, laptops, navigation devices, and other gadgets that are mounted on the dashboard. But if there are no valuables in your car, then they won’t have anything to steal!
2. Hide your belongings from plain sight.
If you can’t bring your valuables everywhere with you, the next best option is to keep them hidden. Place them in your glovebox, storage compartments, under the seats, or in the trunk. Hide your items anywhere that is hard to reach so thieves can’t easily grab them.
3. Have your car windows tinted.
Tinted car windows can discourage thieves from attempting a robbery. If they can’t see what’s inside, they might not break into your car.
4. Install an anti-theft alarm system.
If your car doesn’t have built-in alarms, look for aftermarket options that provide comprehensive protection. Ideally, you want an alarm system with multiple sensors that trigger whenever someone attempts to break into your car.
Some cars have built-in alarm systems straight out of the factory. However, they’re usually not as effective at deterring thieves. Check with the manufacturer and other car owners to see how much protection it can offer. If it doesn’t meet your standards, consider replacing it with an aftermarket system.
5. Set up multiple sensors.
Anti-theft technology has evolved tremendously in recent years. There are now sensors that can pick up the sound of shattering glass, changes in air cabin pressure, motion inside the vehicle, and impact to the auto body.
- Glass break sensors employ sensitive microphones which activate the alarm at the sound of breaking car windows or any attempts at tampering them.
- Pressure sensors detect shifts in cabin air pressure, which can happen if the doors are forced open or if the windows are broken.
- Shock sensors are similar to standard anti-theft alarms and are capable of detecting impact to the auto body. The only difference is that shock sensors only trigger the alarm with significant impact, whereas standard systems are triggered with the slightest movements – many of which are false.
- Motion sensors are advanced systems which use ultrasonic waves to detect movement inside the cabin.
To prevent ‘smash and grab’ theft, you can set up one or more of these sensors.