How can I Prevent Auto Theft?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

In a time when sophisticated criminals can literally steal a car in less than 60 seconds, many car owners seek out new and improved ways to prevent auto theft. Some of these deterrents perform as advertised, while others prove to be expensive gimmicks found at the scene of the crime. It often seems the only way to prevent auto theft is to think like a car thief and work backward. The key is to find a theft prevention method that works and to use it consistently.

Sports cars are often targeted for auto theft.
Sports cars are often targeted for auto theft.

One basic way to prevent auto theft is to reconsider your preference in cars. Many people assume that car thieves are attracted to flashy sports cars or high-end luxury automobiles. In reality, professional car theft rings are more likely to target popular midsize sedans and trucks.

One way to prevent auto theft is diligent parking and storage.
One way to prevent auto theft is diligent parking and storage.

In order to turn a quick profit, a car thief needs to sell off the car or its parts without drawing much attention. An expensive BMW sports car would be noticed much faster than a nondescript Honda Accord. Every year, car magazines put out a list of the car models most stolen each year. To prevent auto theft, avoid buying the car model listed as number one.

Another way to prevent auto theft is diligent parking and storage. Park your car in an illuminated, populated area whenever possible. Car thieves look for opportunities such as an isolated car in an empty parking deck.

Parking a car on a dimly lit street can also be problematic. If you can't see your parked vehicle from your window, you won't see the thief breaking into it at two in the morning, either. The best way to prevent car theft is to make your car as visible as possible.

One popular method to prevent auto theft is an anti-tampering alarm system. Many newer cars feature alarms activated by keychain remotes, but some thieves are not deterred simply by a loud noise. They will simply deactivate the system once the car has been moved. To combat this problem, security companies now offer more advanced car alarm systems that kill the engine, lock the doors, generate a global positioning signal and/or report the theft automatically. These alarm systems can be an expensive investment for car owners, but the expense of losing a car to thieves is usually much higher.

Some drivers prevent auto theft through the use of physical locks and bars. A bar lock marketed as The Club has proven to be an effective deterrent against car theft. The Club consists of two reinforced steel bars which wrap around the steering column and wheel. This prevents the thief from driving away after making entry. Only the owner of the bar lock can remove it safely.

A restraining system such as The Club may prove to be an inexpensive alternative to more expensive car alarm systems. No matter what method one uses to prevent auto theft, the key to success is consistency. If you drive a vehicle popular to car thieves, they will seize every opportunity to apply their trade.

Thieves usually target midsize sedans and trucks.
Thieves usually target midsize sedans and trucks.
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


The key is deterrence. All alarms can be defeated by the pros. Approach it as a "Show of Force". Humans only fear what they know, not what is hidden.


Some cars have auto theft devices built into the car that will disable the vehicle if it's not started properly. It has alarm codes you need to punch in to start the vehicle again.

The mst annoying auto anti theft device in my opinion has got to be the electronic alarm. These car alarms go off like crazy around our neighborhood, and I would bet in 90% of the cases it's because someone just passed by and not that the car was being stolen. It can be aggravating to wait for the owners to come out and shut down the alarm.

I guess if you have a really expensive car it might be worth it, however. I prefer the club device myself. It works, and is silent.


It's interesting that car model and style is mentioned as a way in how to prevent auto theft. We bought our daughter a two-door, Honda coupe. I later found out that this is one of the most sought out or most frequently stolen cars. She told me her friend told her that, although I didn't really look up the actual statistics.

It makes sense, however. After reading this I'm going to make sure she practices extra safety in where and when she parks the car.

Post your comments
Forgot password?