Texas Living

Stopping a Smash-and-Grab

By Callie Leahy 5.16.13

Smash-and-grab burglaries can happen in seconds, so don’t count on on-site security patrol or the fact that “it won’t happen to you,” because it can and you can prevent it easily with these suggestions.

Park wisely. Look for well-lit areas with high foot traffic. Try to avoid parking between large vehicles or behind trash bins or wall barriers; these obstacles provide coverage for thieves to get in and out of your car without being seen.

Prepare before you leave. Some thieves watch you put your valuables away at common areas like gyms, daycares, and grocery stores and then break into your car and use your checks and personal identification at ATMs.

Reduce Car Break-Ins

You may reduce your risk of being targeted by preparing before you leave for your destination.

  • Invest in a cargo cover for your trunk area if you have a rear window.
  • Put away valuables like large shopping bags, luggage, GPS units, and electronics before you leave your home.
  • Make sure you have your dash sunshade and even side-window shades to deter thieves.

Be smart about your personal information. Items like mail, insurance cards, debit cards, and even your smartphone or GPS can turn your car robbery into a case of identity theft, home invasion, or worse. A good tip for GPS units and smartphones is to change your home address to a nearby store or even the police department and always clear the recent destinations.

Don’t forget about these obvious things. Even if your valuables are hidden, some telltale signs can let a thief know what’s in your vehicle.

  • Chargers and accessories for electronics
  • CD holders or visor organizers
  • Car audio stickers on your vehicle
  • GPS mounts (even the ring left on your windshield from GPS mounts and radar units)
  • “Baby On Board” signs or family stickers that indicate baby accessories are present

Did you know — smash-and-grabs aren’t exclusive to empty, parked cars, there’s a trend in burglaries happening at red lights?