Vehicle Security

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You Can Help Prevent Car Theft!

Though professional car thieves have entered the field in increasing numbers, most cars are still taken by amateurs. You can greatly increase your protection against this type of crime by taking the following precautions.

Lock Up

  • An unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief. Lock up whenever you leave your car, and take the keys with you.

  • Lock the trunk and/or tailgate.

  • Close all windows -- professional thieves have tools that help unlock cars through a minimum of open space.

  • When you park the car, remove the tape deck, CB, or other valuable possessions from the car. Do not leave gift-wrapped packages or cameras lying on the seat of your car. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you. If possible, also remove the CB antenna and stow it in the trunk.

Park Carefully

  • Avoid leaving an auto unattended in public parking lots for an extended period of time. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or an attended lot.

  • If possible, park your car in a lot where you don't have to leave your keys.

  • Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car...and your home. If you have to leave your keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.

  • At night, park in well-lighted areas with pedestrian traffic.

  • Whenever possible, turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking, making it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.

  • Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight. These are a favorite means of entry for car thieves.

Operation Identification

  • With an electric engraver, etch your California driver's license number preceded by the letters "CA", and the expiration year after the driver's license number, on tape decks, CB radios, and other removable items.

  • Record your vehicle identification number and store it in a safe place.

Use "Anti-Theft" Devices

  • When buying a car, check the manufacturer's list of anti-theft options, such as interior hood and trunk releases, locking steering columns, and others.

  • Consider the purchase and installation of security devices such as:

    • Interior hood lock and release.

    • A second ignition switch, or "kill switch", which prevents electrical current from reaching coil distributor.

    • A locking gas cap.

    • Locking devices for batteries, wheels, decks, etc.

    • An alarm device which will activate a siren, horn, or lights -- or all three -- to frighten the thief away before he is able to steal your car.

Other Anti-Theft Devices

  • You can buy an alarm for your vehicle that is mounted behind the license plate, and sounds off if the vehicle is moved.

  • Locking steering columns are effective anti-theft devices.

Don't Unwittingly Buy A Stolen Car!

  • Deal only with a reputable, established licensed used car dealer.

  • If you buy from an individual, be sure he is who he says he is.

  • Be sure you can locate the seller after the sale.

  • Ask the seller about financing on the car and verify it.

  • Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if it has been tampered with.

  • See if the VIN matches the number on the seller's title.

  • Be suspicious of new paint on a late model car.

  • Be sure any inspection stickers and license tags are current and issued by the same state.

  • Ask for the manufacturer's keys, not a replacement set.

  • Be suspicious if the seller gives you replacement keys for a late model car.

  • Complete all paperwork at the time of the sale.

  • Don't buy a used car without being present when the title is notarized.

Get Involved

Report a theft in progress if you see one. Cooperate with law enforcement officials once a crime has been committed. Be willing to testify in court if your car is stolen or if you have evidence of fraud.

If Your Car Is Stolen

Promptly report it to law enforcement and your insurance company. Have the following information ready:

  • Year

  • Make/Model

  • License plate

  • VIN

  • Color

  • Any distinguishing features

  • Insurance company/Policy number

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the
Thousand Oaks Police Crime Prevention Bureau at (805) 371-8362