California has a car theft problem. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) 2016 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report, six of the 10 areas with the highest per capita vehicle theft rate are in California. This means that car owners in California have to be extra cautious to keep their vehicles safe.

What Car Thieves Want

While some car thieves are just out for a joyride, many are interested in making money off the car or its parts. They’re looking for cars that they can sell. As a result, certain makes and models are stolen more often than others.

According to the NICB, the Toyota Camry was the most commonly stolen vehicle in 2016, followed by the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Corolla.

Of course, having a car that doesn’t make the list of most stolen cars doesn’t mean you’re safe. If your car is on it, however, you should be especially cautious.

What You Can Do                                                            

There are a lot of cars out there for car thieves to choose from. Most car thieves will target the easiest option, so make sure yours isn’t it.

  • Try to park your car in as safe an area as possible. If you can park it in your private garage instead of on the street, that’s great.
  • Use antitheft devices. If you can’t park your car is a completely secure area, you may want to consider antitheft devices. These can include car alarms and steering wheel locks.
  • Keep up with new threats. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but sometimes it makes things easier for criminals. For example, many cars are opened remotely with electronic keys, but some criminals have found ways to use this technology to break into cars.
  • Remove valuable from your car. Not all thieves want to steal the car itself. Many are after the valuables in your car. Avoid leaving expensive items like electronics in view. Also avoid leaving things like empty containers. You know it’s empty, but criminals won’t know that until after they smash your window to find out. Really, it’s best just to remove all belongings from your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave your keys in the car. This is a bad reason for obvious reasons. If you tend to forget your keys, devise a way to remind yourself. Don’t keep a spare key in your car, either. Thieves know to look for them.
  • Lock your car and close the windows. Lock your doors, even if you’ll only be gone a moment, and close the windows completely.

You can do a lot to decrease your chance of becoming a car thief’s next victim, but unfortunately, there’s still a risk. That’s why it’s smart to get comprehensive car insurance, which provides coverage in case your car is stolen.