Most Northwest Drivers Aren't Worried about Car Prowls
Washington renters, young Oregonians share highest concern for break-ins
That feeling when you spot shattered glass strewn near your parked car: It's one many Northwest drivers can relate to. Yet the latest poll from PEMCO Insurance finds that few Washington and Oregon drivers share significant concern for car prowlers across their Northwest neighborhoods.
The PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll finds only about 1 in 5 respondents (19 percent) say they're extremely or very concerned about car prowls in their neighborhood. Instead, about half (48 percent) admit they're not very or not at all concerned about the threat of a car break-in.
Concern is higher, however, among renters in Washington. Compared to their home-owning counterparts, more renters say they're extremely or very concerned about break-ins (27 percent vs. 19 percent).
In Oregon, renters and homeowners share the same level of concern for car prowls, but age shows a difference in perceptions: About 1 in 5 (18 percent) Oregon drivers under 55 years old say they're extremely or very concerned about theft, compared with just 10 percent of those over 55.
The PEMCO poll finds that younger Oregon residents also are significantly more likely to take precautionary measures like locking their car doors (92 percent vs. 75 percent) and removing their valuables (76 percent v. 63 percent) to stay safe.
"No one likes to come across the heart-sinking signs of a car break-in – shattered glass on the pavement or doors left eerily ajar. That's why we were surprised to learn that people here generally aren't too wary of the threat of car prowls," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. "Still, there are some common-sense efforts drivers should make to deter criminals and keep their stuff safe."
Among those surveyed, a majority of drivers say they regularly take basic precautions to prevent break-ins by locking doors and removing valuables. Just under half (45 percent) say they use an electronic alarm system to protect their car and belongings, as well.
Beyond those simple steps, PEMCO recommends following these tips to keep valuable possessions safe from car prowlers:
- Never leave your car running unattended, even if you're just going away for a few seconds. If you do need to leave the vehicle, turn the car off, remove the keys and lock the doors so thieves don't have an easy target.
- If you park on the street, find a well-lighted area. Good lighting is even more critical if you're parking overnight, as thieves intent on ransacking cars often strike between 3 and 5 a.m.
- Don't leave anything in view, no matter what you think it may be worth. Even a few coats left innocently piled on the seat might look like they're hiding something worth stealing.
- If you have to leave items in the car, stash them in the trunk, and do it before you park so a prowler doesn't see you. If you don't have a trunk, put belongings out of sight on the floor or under the seat.
"It's a good idea to check your insurance policies, too, for how your belongings might be covered. Often times it's a renters or homeowners policy that covers any damaged or stolen items after a car break-in," Wing said.
For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit www.pemco.com/poll, where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in May 2017.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.
About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance is a true Northwest company providing auto, home, and boat insurance to our neighbors since 1949. Consistently ranked highest in customer satisfaction, people are the heart of our business. They can depend on us to anticipate and support their changing needs. PEMCO is committed to serving organizations that positively impact our local communities. We were started by a Seattle schoolteacher and stay true to our roots by focusing on nonprofits and organizations that support youth, education, and public safety. To learn more, visit www.pemco.com.