Prevent Auto Burglaries

Auto burglaries (not to be confused with auto theft, which is the act of stealing one's car) are a common crime in places like gas stations, financial institutions, office buildings, and even at home. It is a crime of stealing one's personal property from a parked vehicle. These crimes can be committed by thieves entering an unlocked car or even seeing valuables left in a vehicle in plain sight. Don't make your car an easy target by making the mistake of leaving your doors unlocked, and certainly don't give thieves a reason to break into your vehicle and steal your belongings. Remember, auto crime prevention starts with you by taking precautions.


Preventing Auto Burglaries

  1. Lock your doors. Your car's mechanical locks are the best security system. Lock them from the inside of your car with the lock button on the door, or use your car's remote after closing the door.
    • If your car is equipped with a keypad outside the door, use the correct button combination to lock the door. Check your owner's manual to see how to do this.
  2. Take your keys with you on your person. Do not leave your keys in the ignition, and certainly don't store spare keys in or on your car. Thieves will know where to look. This creates an opportunity for a thief to steal your vehicle, along with your possessions.
  3. Don't forget to close windows and sunroofs. Thieves especially like a car with an open window or sunroof. To close them, use the switches located in the proper areas before exiting the vehicle. Read your owner's manual on how to do this.
  4. Don't forget your children and pets. Do not leave children or pets unattended in the vehicle. Not only is it dangerous, but in a handful of states, it is also illegal. You can be charged with child or animal neglect, and sent to jail.
  5. Chose a parking area that is well-lit, well-observed, and well-traveled. A parking lot with a security guard on duty is usually the best option. In addition, a parking lot near a roadway would also be ideal.
  6. Consider installing a car alarm or security device in your vehicle. These devices are beneficial, and can act as a deterrent for car thieves.
    • For added protection, place anti-theft warning stickers on your windows.
  7. Park in a garage. Be sure to lock your vehicle and close the garage door. A garage is a very safe place for a vehicle, as it hides it from plain view.
  8. Consider installing a motion-sensor light where you park your vehicle.

Prevent criminal "window shopping" inside your vehicle

  1. Place any property in the trunk before you get to your next destination. Your trunk is the best place for valuable items.
  2. Do not leave possessions on the passenger seat. Be sure to take them with you, wherever you go.
  3. Do not hide expensive possessions under the seat. This is the first place where a criminal will look for stored items. This includes computers, cell phones, jewelry, and any other valuable item.
  4. Do not attempt to cover items left on the seat or floorboard. Blankets and articles of clothing present a hidden clue to criminals that items may be hidden underneath.
  5. Do not leave important documents in your car that contain personal information, like car registrations. Criminals can use this opportunity to commit identity theft. However, state laws may require you to keep registration documents in your vehicle, so that it can be presented to police. If you must store this information in your vehicle, use your locking glovebox to keep them safe.


  • Auto burglary is a VERY dangerous crime. If you don't take precautions, your car insurance may not cover you.
  • If you become a victim, report it to your local law enforcement agency. Telltale signs of auto burglaries include glass breaking, dogs barking, people walking on driveways.


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