Shut the door on auto crime: 5 ways to avoid car theft

A small amount of carelessness is an open invitation to criminals.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), between January 2016 and December 2018, an average of 209 vehicles were stolen per day because drivers left their keys in their cars. That small moment of carelessness was an open invitation to criminals.

What's another factor that contributes to car theft? Thieves are using a new digital hacking system. Police say that locking your door with your keyless entry button or fob sends a signal to the car. Criminals can copy that signal and use it to get into the vehicle. So now, not only is it essential to bring your keys with you every time you leave the car, it's crucial to remember to lock your doors from the inside instead of using the key fob, especially in problematic areas.

Here are five ways to keep your car safe from auto theft.

1.Never leave the car running. It's understandable to warm your car up during those frigid temperatures but leaving the car running and unoccupied makes it vulnerable to theft. If you must run your car before leaving, lock your doors and hide the key. Never leave it exposed.

2.Know your area. Between 2016 and 2018 the NICB reported that California, Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Nevada were the top five states that had the highest spikes in auto theft. Knowing specific information like this can help you stay in-the-know about your surroundings so that you can take proper precautions in keeping your vehicle in front of your house.

3.Stash your items. Leaving your purse under the seat while you quickly run into the store might seem harmless, but it's the perfect opportunity for thievery. Always remember to carry your belongings with you, but if you have to leave it then hide it. When you are out and about, keep your valuables in your bag. A thief can get into your vehicle by hitting the panic button if they find your dropped key.

4.Park in well-lit places. Always park in brightly lit areas. Stick to spots with witnesses and security cameras, if possible.

5.Hide your key fob. Just as criminals can copy the signal sent from your fob to the car when you lock it, they can hack into the key when it is close to the car and not in use. You can create a firewall around your fob when you're not using it by storing it in a metal box or by locking your car in the garage. This method will block any signals the hacker sends to the fob, keeping your car safe from theft.

If you or a loved has been a victim of car theft, the officers at the Lancaster City Bureau of Police are here to help. To file a report or to learn more, visit