Recent advancements in car technology have made it nearly impossible to steal a car without a key. On the surface, this sounds like a great improvement. Unfortunately, car thieves have responded to this technology by taking drastic measures.
As a result, carjacking is approaching historical highs in New Jersey. Officials have dubbed the rise in auto theft an “epidemic.” Mercedes and BMW vehicles are the hottest targets, but all makes and all areas of NJ are at risk.
Plymouth Rock Assurance provides important tips to avoid auto theft and stay safe in the unfortunate event you find yourself in an unsafe situation.
- Keep Track of Your Keys
Always account for all of the keys that come with your vehicle, which can include a valet key in your glove compartment, wallet key in the user’s manual, FOB (remote entry system) key for remote starting, etc. Do not leave any keys within the vehicle while unattended, including at car washes, valet parking, or quick trips to the ATM. You should also never hide a second set of keys in or on your vehicle. Professional thieves know where to look.
- Always Lock Your Vehicle
You should avoid driving or parking in known high-crime areas if possible, but regardless of your location, you should always keep your doors locked. Yes, even while driving and even while parked in your own driveway.
- Park Safely
If you have a garage at your home, you should park there. If you are parking in a public lot, stick to well-lit areas. If you notice surveillance cameras in a parking lot, try to park in sight of the camera. Do not tempt thieves by leaving valuables inside your car. Always close all windows and the sunroof when parked.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
We all need to pay extra attention during this spike in theft, especially in garages, parking lots, and at gas stations. At traffic lights, leave extra room between your car and the car in front of you in case you are targeted by a “bump and grab.” Some carjackers may bump your car from the rear to initiate a theft. You should always leave room to maneuver around the car in front of you.
- If Confronted by a Carjacker, Do Not Resist
Your health and safety are more important than your car. If your vehicle is stolen, you should immediately contact the police. Do not cancel your E-ZPass, and be sure to activate your OnStar or similar technology if available. These services may help track the location of your vehicle.
On the bright side, law enforcement is working hard to crack down on carjackings and auto theft. In Newark, billboards warn would-be thieves of potential federal convictions. In some areas, teenagers accused of carjacking are being charged as adults.
Do you have any additional tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the road? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.