By Blair Qualey
With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the time to increase vigilance when it comes to auto-related crime and theft. Being a vehicle owner comes with risks, especially when leaving your car unattended on overnight street parking or in parking garages.
Along with break-ins, the number of auto thefts reached historic highs last year, according to Équité Association, hitting a staggering $1.5 billion in losses due to stolen vehicles.
To keep your vehicle and all those precious presents safe this season, consider the following tips from your helpful auto-elves at the NCDA.
- Begin your holiday safety checklist with the most basic yet crucial step: Lock your car and move any items in the vehicle out of sight. Regardless of the duration it spends in hibernation during family gatherings or shopping sprees, a securely locked vehicle is less likely to attract the attention of opportunistic holiday grinches.
- Also consider augmenting your car’s security with a steering wheel lock, such as the notorious steering wheel club. This physical deterrent makes it extremely difficult for thieves to manoeuvre your vehicle, adding an extra layer of protection to your holiday celebrations so you can rest easy.
- Investing in a reliable car alarm system offers an additional layer of security. Visible deterrents like flashing lights and audible alarms can startle thieves and draw attention in case of a break-in.
- Strategic parking can also make a significant difference, like parking in well-lit areas, especially during overnight parking. Beyond deterring thieves, well-lit spaces increase the likelihood of someone noticing suspicious activities, so make sure to choose secure or monitored parking facilities whenever possible.
- Garages with attendants provide an extra layer of safeguarding, discouraging potential holiday heists.
- As you embark on your seasonal adventures, always make sure to remove all valuable items from your vehicle – a visibly empty interior reduces its appeal to potential holiday miscreants. And while it might be easiest to hide loved ones’ presents in the car, keeping all your eggs in one basket is an unnecessary risk, so try to find a more secure location to keep those gifts away from prying eyes.
- Consider installing a hidden kill switch that disrupts your car’s ignition system. Even if thieves manage to access your car, rendering it inoperable is a powerful deterrent – if the engine won’t turn over, they can’t drive off with your car.
- Family and community are what the holidays are truly about, and collaboration within neighbourhoods and local communities can also significantly enhance security. Utilize platforms like Facebook groups to share information about suspicious activities, ensuring everyone stays vigilant.
- In the realm of car crime prevention, knowledge is the ultimate gift. Stay informed about car theft trends in your area and familiarize yourself with the latest methods that thieves may employ. While it’s impossible to entirely eliminate the risk, being aware and adopting these steps will help ensure a safe holiday season for you and your cherished ride.
In closing, the NCDA family, vehicle manufacturers, sponsors, and auto enthusiasts from across the province are starting to count down the days for the return of a re-imagined Vancouver International Auto Show, March 20 to 24. Event details and ticket information are available at: VancouverInternationalAutoShow.com
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.