Vehicle Theft Prevention: Tips to Keeping Your Car From Being Stolen
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Vehicle Theft Prevention: Tips to Keeping Your Car From Being Stolen

Headshot of a man with a blurred background By Ben Reiland December 21, 2023

Categories: Mobile Workforce Motus Members

Ever had your vehicle broken into or stolen? It’s an event we all hope to avoid, but it can happen to anyone. And, since the pandemic, vehicle theft has risen in major metro areas across the United States. What can you do to deter theft from, or of, your vehicle? We’ll dive into what makes a car a tempting target and vehicle theft prevention tips in this post.

What makes a vehicle a target?

Leaving a restaurant or an appointment to find the place you parked empty, your car no longer insight will ruin your day. At that point, it’s simply too late to do anything but contact the authorities. You might ask yourself, “why me?” And there are a lot of ways to answer that question, from the type of vehicle to the location to the locking mechanism. Let’s start with the vehicle type.

Vehicle Type

When it comes to vehicle theft prevention, sometimes it’s about how stylish the vehicle is. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s annual report, two different forms of the Dodge Charger took the first and second place spots on the list. Another reason vehicle type plays a role is ease of break in.

Hyundais and Kias were often targeted in the past few years because a social media trend exposed how simple hot-wiring the vehicles was. Some auto manufacturers install engine immobilizers, making it next to impossible to start the vehicle without a key. While there is a free fix for Hyundai and Kia owners now, having an older model may still result in unwanted attention.

Time and Place

Location can have as much an impact as vehicle type on whether a vehicle is stolen. Unsurprisingly, most vehicle theft happens in major metro areas. While the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, Montana and others reported a decline in theft, Texas, Washington, Florida, Colorado and California reported a significant increase.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)

This last one may seem closer to science fiction than reality, but it happens: car thieves copy the signal of your key fob to get into your car. Crazy, right? Here’s the science. A key fob has a unique signal it sends to the vehicle via radio frequency. Using a device that captures this signal, car thieves can then use their device as if it were your key fob. With that, they have access to your vehicle. Again, your exposure to this will depend on where you go with your vehicle.

Vehicle Theft Prevention: The Basics

We’ve talked about why vehicles may be stolen and we’ll share some anti-theft measures you can update your vehicle with, but there are some basics as well. For some, the answer to the question of how to prevent vehicle theft can be found in these three simple points:

  • Always lock your car. Even if it’s just a quick trip into a place, even if you’re in a hurry, locking doors is an essential step in vehicle theft prevention.
  • Do not leave your keys, or a spare, in the car. These first two go hand in hand. It might be convenient to have something easily accessible in a pinch, but that convenience helps car thieves too.
  • Pick the places you’re parking wisely. Look for places that are more public, spots that wouldn’t afford a car thief much cover. If you can afford to, a secure garage is the best option. At night, well-lit areas are an easy choice.

Anti-Theft Devices

So we’ve talked about the various factors that play a role in vehicle theft, and we’ve shared some basic steps in vehicle theft prevention. If you’ve followed those steps and still experienced issues or are looking for further security, there’s plenty more you can do to prevent the theft of your vehicle. That includes visible deterrents, alarms, faraday cages and tracking systems. Let’s start with visible deterrents.

Visible Deterrents

One avenue to take in preventing theft is something anyone can see at a glance is going to give them trouble. Take a steering wheel lock as an example. By locking the steering wheel, you make the thief think twice about first breaking into your vehicle, then having to deal with the additional measure. If they’re set on grand theft auto, they’re more likely to seek a target elsewhere. Other, similar deterrent measures include a tire lock or even some signage calling out the presence of a security system.


If you’ve ever tried to open your vehicle repeatedly when it was locked, you’ve likely experienced its alarm. This can go a long way in preventing theft. The trickier bit comes when they’re inside the vehicle. Owners can install aftermarket alarm systems with a blinking LED (warning thieves off), a starter kill (preventing hot wiring), a louder siren system, GPS tracking and even conveniences like smartphone compatibility.

Faraday Cages

This is specifically for protecting your RFID. A Faraday cage is any device that blocks electromagnetic waves. Believe it or not, your fridge is a Faraday cage. Keep your keys in there as you like, but if you’re looking for a more mobile option, there are a range of accessories—from purses to wallets to pocket liners—that offer this protection from signal theft.

Tracking Systems

Your vehicle has been stolen. Whether you took anti-theft measures or not, being without your vehicle is less than ideal. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that all is lost. Owners can install a tracking system to ensure they know where it is at all times, whether they’re driving it or not. Should someone steal your vehicle and it does have a tracking system in it, we strongly recommend taking that information to the police and letting them handle the situation. This may fit better under the category of “vehicle recovery” but adding a sticker on the vehicle from the tracking system company could help in the vehicle theft prevention department.

How to Prevent Vehicle Theft

Whether you’ve had your car broken into or stolen, or you just want to know how to prevent it, there’s plenty you can do to make your vehicle a no go. From the type of vehicle you drive to anti-theft devices, you have options. Remember that any inconveniences to you will also be inconveniences to potential thieves. It might not be ideal to have to lock and unlock your steering wheel, but that should also go a long way toward keeping people out of your car.

Looking to know learn more about safe driving, vehicle ownership fundamentals and more?

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