Locking your car and making sure you don't leave your belongings in the open are among the best ways to prevent them from being stolen, according to an automotive safety group. AAA Arizona released tips in October for Crime Prevention Month.
"Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to make your vehicle completely theft-proof," said John Lawson, vice president of insurance operations for AAA Arizona. "Despite our high rate of auto theft, there is still the attitude that 'it won't happen to me.' "
The FBI reported that 48,389 vehicles were stolen in Arizona in 2007. That's far too many, according to AAA Arizona, and one of the reasons that state remains ranked second in the nation for vehicle theft.
The simple step of always making sure a vehicle's door is locked is one simple measure of added security, according to AAA. The groups said wandering thieves count on open doors for easy access to vehicles and goods. Belongings left out in the open also tempt thieves, the group said.
The biggest tip prompted by AAA Arizona could possibly save drivers from a trip to prison: Never leave children unattended or locked inside a vehicle, no matter how short the time might be.
Engrave Vehicle Identification Numbers into windows.
Park rear-wheel-drive vehicles in the driveway by backing in, making them difficult to tow.
Install a motion-sensitive floodlight that lights up parking areas around homes.
Install a car alarm, which can range in price from $100 to more than $1,000.
Buy a theft-deterrent decal, which classifies the vehicle as protected by an alarm system or theft prevention company.
Install a kill switch in vehicles that is hidden and must be turned on for vehicles to work. The cost for such a device can range from $10 to more than $100.
Install an auto theft deterrent light. The LED flashing light replicates the lights used in expensive car alarm systems.
Enroll in the Watch Your Car program, which permits police to pull over vehicles without cause between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. within a mile of an international border. For more information, visit www.azwatchyourcar.com.