Looking to cut your risk of car theft? A 2018 survey suggests you could move east of the Rockies. That's because western states are among the highest in the nation for auto theft rates per 100,000 residents. Oregon came in at No. 5, and Washington was No. 7. Alaska was No. 1.
But we think there's a much better solution! Here are five low- or no-cost ways you can make your car a less-likely target for thieves:
- Lock your doors and take the keys, even if you'll be away just a few seconds. In almost half of stolen vehicles, a driver missed locking one of the doors. In one out of five, the keys were left inside, too.
- Park in well-lighted areas. Many thefts occur between 3 and 5 a.m.
- Clear the console, including loose change, and put backpacks and packages out of sight (even a coat thrown in the backseat might make a thief think something of value is hiding underneath). If you must leave valuables behind, lock them in the trunk before you park.
- Never leave a car unattended to warm up. It's illegal in both Washington and Oregon, and cars puffing exhaust in the driveway make an easy target.
- Consider using a steering-wheel lock (like The Club®) if you own a high-theft model, like an older Honda or Subaru. Although it can be defeated with a bolt cutter, thieves may consider your car more trouble than it's worth and move on.