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Locking the car to avoid theft....

I continue to be amazed/flabbergasted. Police reports in our little weekly paper list thefts from unlocked cars every week! Wallets, keys, cash, passports! This may look like a sleepy Old Florida vacation spot, but come on, people! Use your heads!

Posted by
3666 posts

Hille, I suspect you are preaching to the choir. You should post in your little weekly paper as maybe, the people who need to remember will read it. Chances are they aren't reading Rick Steves. ;-)

Posted by
526 posts

You're probably right, Maria, but you'd think they'd pay attention when they see the stuff in the paper. Argh!

Posted by
24859 posts

are these the same people who come back from Italy with ZTL souvenirs?

Posted by
4390 posts

It’s not just about contents, either. Parts of Colorado have a law where you can’t legally leave your vehicle unless you’re in it, or have a remote start option and/or can leave it locked. On cold days, some people will start a car to let it warm up, then go back in the house to finish their coffee. When they come out again, the car’s been driven off.

Aside from wasting fuel and polluting the air, such “puffer” cars present enough of a theft opportunity that it happens a lot. The law’s supposed to make people do what is common sense, and maybe to give a lowlife thief less of an opportunity. But who’s more criminal, then, the person who leaves the car unlocked with the keys inside, or the thief who takes it?

Posted by
670 posts

But who’s more criminal, then, the person who leaves the car unlocked with the keys inside, or the thief who takes it?

I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I'm quite sure you have the right to leave your car door unlocked on your property or for that matter you can leave your house unlocked. It may be that the Colorado laws you are talking about are cars on public property such as a street, parking lot, etc. Regardless, if you take something that isn't yours like a car you would be the criminal. If you leave your car running unlocked, you are not a criminal. Stupid might be a better description.

Posted by
1203 posts

Thread wear, the "joy ride" is not dead. A couple of 15 year olds from the neighboring town swiped a car there, drove it 20 miles to my town, somehow found my neighbors car with keys in ignition parked on his drive.... so left the 1st stolen car on curb in front of my house and took off in my neighbor's car. (From his driveway)

Here's one of the liability of unlocked car things. Neighbor had a hand gun in the unlocked glove compartment. Neighbor was charged with public nuisance AND an unsecured weapons charge because he did (inadvertently?) Leave a car with keys & gun!!!!!! Where kids could get ahold of them. Nuisance charge dropped, gun charge stuck.
(Kids also got charged with something, but again, they were minors, so was not printed in the infamous newspaper)

Local newspaper always has reports of "cigarettes and cash " being taken from unlocked cars. Perhaps nicotine use decreases ones ability to press car lock buttons?

Posted by
3449 posts

I'm amazed/flabbergasted that anyone leaves anything of value in their car when they park it at the end of the day. Even if it's locked. No matter where they are. No matter where the car is. At home or abroad.

I'll turn 75 later this month. I got my driver's license at the age of 14. Even in the "old" days when a lot of people left their cars unlocked, I didn't. I'm guessing that's partly because my folks consistently locked our vehicles and largely because I'm female.

Talented thieves can break into cars that are locked. But locking makes it take longer and that may be enough of a deterrent for the not so talented.

Something else that puzzles me is ratting around, trying to hide stuff in the car or moving it to the trunk at its final resting place. It's bad enough to leave valuables in the car, but to make a show of them? Don't they know that if they feel like they have to do that, it should be done somewhere else, preferably far away from the car's final parking place?

Posted by
4648 posts

We lived in Germany for four years and Germany has a law that requires you to lock your car when you leave it.
Every since then, I always lock my car.

I have read on some travel posts for some areas of the World that advise you to leave your car unlocked (but don't leave anything valuable in it) since theft of parked autos is so common. Those places, I don't want to visit.

Posted by
6 posts

I have read on some travel posts for some areas of the World that advise you to leave your car unlocked (but don't leave anything valuable in it) since theft of parked autos is so common.

Saves having to replace a broken window when the car is recovered

Posted by
5533 posts

When I had a VW convertible I always locked it (so I could tell that to the insurance company) but to avoid the high cost of repairing / replacing a sliced-through roof I left the top down unless it was raining. And obviously left nothing inside. The best solution depends on circumstances.

Posted by
4390 posts

Like wearing a moneybelt, it’s unfortunate that people have to take extra precautions due to thieves.

Back to the Colorado “puffer” law, you are committing an infraction, and can be ticketed, if you’re caught idling your car without you present, or with a remote starter on the vehicle. It’s a law supposed to protect you from your own carelessness.

Posted by
3105 posts

In my brother’s old neighborhood, Queen Anne in Seattle, they had to take a different approach. Car prowls became so common that residents found that thieves would damage their cars on a routine basis while trying to break in. Lots of broken windows! The residents decided to take a new approach. They took out everything of value whenever they parked their car and left it unlocked. The car prowlers could quickly see nothing of value and move on without damaging the car. Sounds odd, but it worked. Damages to parked cars dropped dramatically.

Posted by
4648 posts

Carol,
Sad that the local police couldn't protect the neighborhood. Frankly, I would not live in a community like that.

Posted by
2661 posts

In the Massachusetts Auto Policy, if your car is stolen with no sign of a break in, you are out of luck for payment of damages. Always lock your car and never leave it idling alone...people look for that idling car opportunity. The situation is just calling out for a thief or joy rider.

Posted by
7106 posts

My car will do the 'remote start' only if the doors are locked.

I keep my car garaged so have never had to use the feature. Until reading this topic it had not occurred to me that if one lived in a place that is so cold, the car would be left outside.

Just proves there is no 'universal' normal

Posted by
1203 posts

A couple of years ago a good friend had the oil changed in his vehicle at one of those jiffy places where the technician pulls your car thru and onto the front drive when they are done. While he was paying the bill someone jumped in and stole his car. ( car recovered, not his briefcase)

A week later I was at the same shop and requested that the tech bring the keys to me when he was done. He said "We've never had a car stolen from here"

Posted by
796 posts

because locking your car would definitely keep someone from smashing in the window to get the tempting valuables inside. I think its more about not leaving valuables in the car at...locked or not.

Posted by
4648 posts

I worked in Saudi Arabia from 1981-85 for the Army Corps of Engineers.
You could drive your car downtown or at a shopping area, not lock the car, put the windows down, leave the keys in the car and your wallet on the dashboard, but it would all be there when you returned.
Reason, the penalty for theft in Saudi Arabia was to have your hand cut off.