Do you happen to own a Full-Size Ford Pickup? If you do, be aware! Your vehicle just so happens to be the most popular car to target for auto theft in Florida. Even if you don’t own that model, recent crime rate statistics have given reason for car owners in Jacksonville to worry. Why? Jacksonville the second highest rates of car theft in the state, only beaten by Miami. Even worse, Florida is the third highest ranking state for car thefts. How bad is it? Areavibe, and aggregate website which computes a “livability” score based on a number of statistics for an area, has given Jacksonville a crime rating of F, noting it’s overall crime rate being 48% higher than the national average.
So how do you defend your vehicle? There is no way to completely ensure you won’t become a victim to auto theft, however, informing yourself and practicing safe habits can drastically lower the odds that your vehicle will be targeted. With that said, we’ve composed a guide which should assist you in keeping your vehicle out of the hands of criminals!
Don’t provide carjackers with an easy target
Always follow the Jacksonville Sheriff Departments 9PM routine — lock up your vehicle and make sure you leave no firearms or expensive items in it. This is obvious, but almost everyone will neglect to do this from time to time. Naturally, you also shouldn’t leave your car running while it is unattended as well. All it takes is being in the wrong place at the wrong time for someone to capitalize on your error.
Another way you could be putting your car at risk is by leaving a spare key in or around the vehicle. Thieves are particularly adept at knowing where to look for them. Additionally, while it’s tempting, don’t leave your windows open or cracked, even in Summer. Nationally, July and August are the leading months in car theft incidents. It’s likely that opportunity plays into the high number of thefts which occur in these months and something as small as a cracked window could be a deciding factor in a thief targeting your vehicle.
Utilize defensive mechanisms to keep your car safe
Optional installations you can place in your vehicle which will cut your risk significantly. A basic car alarm or anti-theft device will do wonders for you. Not only do thieves tend to avoid vehicles with car alarms- they usually scatter when one goes off. Nothing is worse for a thief than the attention a blaring car alarm provides
You can also look into installing a vehicle immobilizer or a GPS tracking system. A vehicle immobilizer keeps thieves from bypassing your ignition by hot-wiring your car. Smart keys and fuel cut-offs are some examples of an immobilizer system. A GPS tracking system can be remotely activated and provides the police with your vehicles exact location. A common criminal tactic for car thieves revolve around bringing a vehicle to a “chop-shop”, where the vehicle is dismembered for parts. This makes it harder for law enforcement to identify and recover, and leaves it in far worse shape than it was when you lost it. With that in mind, a tracking device can be a smart investment.
Practice common sense
Never leave valuable property in your vehicle. If you do have valuable possessions in your vehicle, hide them under seats or place them in your trunk. Objects of value encourage thieves to target your vehicle over others. Parking in a well-lit or populated area is also a wise decision. It may be worth considering placing motion detection lights outside your house too, as a large number of auto thefts occur right at home.
Finally, avoid areas and people who seem suspicious. Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts or walk an extra block if it means making your vehicle a little safer. If you pull into a parking lot and see someone or a group of people just loitering around in the lot, your best bet would be to find another place to park.
Installing a security system
As staggering as it may sound, many vehicles are stolen right out of the owners driveway. Most of these thefts tend to occur under the cover of night, as the owner is typically home and asleep. Installing a security system with monitored video surveillance cameras watching your driveway will spook away most criminals, and identify anyone bold enough to make an attempt on your vehicle. To give yourself an extra layer of security, install motion detecting floodlights. This will make any potential carjacker easier to spot by neighbors and cameras
Stats indicate a vehicle is stolen in America once every 46 seconds. Follow our guide and prevent your vehicle from becoming a statistic!