How to Prevent Car Break-Ins

It is all too common for thieves to quickly break into cars, not with intention for stealing the car, but to take any items of value left in the vehicle. Referred to as the “smash and grab,” this behavior is done entirely out of opportunity. Therefore, preventing car break-ins is as easy as removing the opportunity.


  1. The first and easiest way to protect your car and belongings from a break-in is to remove all items from the seat, floor, dashboard ,and the glove box. Some items are more appealing than other. Hot items that thieves look for are phones, purses, laptops, small electronics, and money.
  2. Be sure to park in well-lit areas. When parking in public lots, park close to other cars in the lot. A car left along in a darker area is more prone to a break-in since there is less risk of them getting caught.
  3. Be proactive and diligent. Lock your doors every time you get out of the car and keep the windows rolled up. Lock the doors even if you are parking in your own driveway or garage. It is also smart to lock them when you get out for short periods of time, like when getting gas.
  4. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. If something feels off, it probably is.
  5. Never leave your car running while unattended. Cold Michigan winters leave drivers tempted to warm up their cars before heading out, but doing so creates an opportunity for thieves to get in the car and grab whatever items you might have laying around.
  6. Invest in an anti-theft system. Many newer cars come with anti-theft protection, but older cars are especially vulnerable to break-ins.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40 to 50 percent of car break-ins are due to owner error. The owner is partly at fault for leaving a running car unattended, leaving the keys in the car, leaving the windows down, or leaving valuable items out in plain sight. In other words, owners have given thieves opportunity. By removing the opportunity, you can greatly reduce the chance of