So-called “smash and grab” car thefts have spiked in cities – particularly affluent areas – across the United States. But did you know there are steps you can take to protect your auto from such crimes?
Car windows are being broken into and valuables are being taken from the vehicle.
When purses, other bags, electronics, and/or other valuables in your vehicle can be seen, it invites thieves. These thieves use a blunt object to break window, then they reach in and grab your belongings. These vehicles are usually parked on the street or in parking lots and garages.
This crime has spiked in many cities throughout Minnesota and it happens quickly.
Know the steps you can take to protect your vehicle from these crimes!
Police have been responding to a growing number of thefts involving parked cars. It boils down to car windows being broken and valuables being taken from the vehicle.
Smash and Grabs can happen in just a few seconds and are usually reported to police in sprees of frequency and location – same time, same area.
The name “Smash-Grab” comes from the actions thieves do to vehicles: They break a window—Smash; and then take the valuables as quickly as they can —Grab.
Tinted windows and locked doors can deter such criminals because it will take longer for them to get into the vehicle. The window film holds the glass together and not just shatter which makes it more of a risk for thieves.
Here are some ideas on how you can protect your vehicle.
1. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car. Get into a habit of looking into your vehicle before you leave it. The items most stolen includes:
- Purses or wallet
- Laptops and tablets
- GPS navigation device
- Cell phones
- Shopping bags filled with merchandise
- Small electronics
- Cash and credit cards
2. Always lock your doors and roll up your windows and close your sunroof.
3. Park in well-lit areas close to the nearest buildings.
4. Consider window tinting
5. Know where you’re going and plan routes that avoid high crime areas whenever possible
6. Never leave your car unattended if it’s running
7. Install anti-theft alarm systems. Please note: Not all systems can prevent this type of car break-in but I’m many cases they can deter the thief. Don’t forget to activate your security alarm system before leaving it.
Car owners have a wide range of OEM alarm and security options that can help prevent them from becoming a victim of a smash and grab.
Alarm systems have a siren that indicates a break-in.
Systems have different types of sensors. Those include:
Glass Break Sensors
These detect certain acoustic frequencies such as the noise of shattering glass.
These provide pre-entry protection by detecting the tampering and breaking of vehicle glass. It also can detect slight noises that your perimeter movement or shock/impact sensors may not pickup. Highly sensitive microphone analyzes frequency, intensity and timing of intrusion sounds eliminating false alarms.
These detect changes in the air pressure inside your vehicle. When a window is broken or your doors are forced open the sensor will trigger an alarm.
Some cars have systems that with ultrasonic waves can detect motion. This is a great type of system to alert car owners to break-ins and ‘smash and grab’ theft.
These thieves can be experts or just minor-league vandals.
Most are casual opportunists.
Again, theft is often an opportunity. If someone breaks into your car and realizes they have the opportunity to steal your vehicle as well as your valuables, you face a much larger loss.
While there is no way to 100% stop these kinds of thieves, use the mentioned common-sense steps to make your vehicle less of an appealing target. They will most likely just forget your vehicle and move on to an easier target.