Anyone who has had a car or truck stolen knows the anxiety, helplessness and inconvenience that one goes through. If you are on vacation and have your vehicle stolen it can be even more damaging because you may not have other family and friends to help you get through the initial shock of it. Not all vehicles that have been stolen come back in the same shape you last left it in. It can be trashed inside and out. After all, the people that have taken your vehicle have no respect whatsoever for your hard earned dollars that purchased the vehicle in the first place. And that is what a criminal is, someone who takes but does not give. There is no valid exchange that has occurred and they really don’t care.

So how do you protect yourself and loved ones? Here are a few tips to help keep you and your vehicle safe: 1) Never leave your car running while you run in to get something from a gas station or convenience store.

A high percentage of theft occurs there. Thieves love this easy in easy out method. 2) Always lock your car. Almost half of all theft occurs in unlocked cars. 3) Never leave your keys in the ignition. It’s the same easy in and out method thieves love. Don’t give them that opportunity. 4) Don’t put that spare key hidden under your car. Thieves are well versed on that and will find them quick and easy. 5) Don’t leave your title or registration in your vehicle. Thieves can easily use this to dispose of your car. 6) If you live in a hot climate you may be tempted to leave the windows open a bit while parked. Don’t! You don’t want to give thieves any opportunity whatsoever to get in your vehicle. 7) Leaving valuables in sight attracts thieves.
8)Before getting out of your car, scan the area quickly to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Often thieves work in twos or threes. If you see any unusual loitering you may want to go somewhere else. 9) When you go inside somewhere do a quick scan for the same reason. 10) Make it a habit that wherever you go whether it is a restaurant, theater etc.

that you do a quick scan of where the exits are.

Knowing ahead of time where they are may help you in an emergency situation. 11) If you are in a restaurant make it a point that one of you (usually the man) sit facing the entrance so you can observe potential danger. 12) With your family devise an emergency plan. Drill it until you all know what your role is so that you can act instantly if danger does arise. The bottom line is that criminals look for the quick and easy steal and individuals that are not prepared. They count on using that element of surprise to get to you or your car. You can avoid being a victim by using your common sense and having a plan. A little preparation ahead of time and learning to be aware of what’s around you at all times can significantly reduce you chances of being a victim.