Break ins are terrible. They come at the worst time, and no one likes their privacy invaded or their things being stolen. It’s even worse in a rental car because it doesn’t belong to you. It’s important to “theft proof” your rental car to keep the risk of break ins to a minimum.
- If you can, try and rent a car with license plates matching the state you are in. This makes you look more like a local and less like a tourist.
- Hide your valuables. Keep anything of value out of sight. Place large valuables locked away in the trunk. Smaller items can be tucked under seats or in glove compartments.
- Try and put your things in your hotel or the place you’re staying as quickly as possible.
- Park in a safe place. Hotel staff can point out the safest parking spots. It’s always good to park directly under lights at night. If there are security cameras, park in their direct line of sight. You can also try and park near police stations or other businesses where there are lots of witnesses or foot traffic.
- Don’t leave maps or tourist items visible in the car. If you want to look like a native, buy a local newspaper and leave it in the back seat.
- As long as there are no valuables in the car, you can leave the car unlocked at night. It sounds counterintuitive, but thieves check the doors before breaking windows. If they go through the car and there is nothing to steal, you’re saving yourself money replacing a broken window.
- If the contents of your trunk are visible, like in a hatchback, make sure it’s visible and empty at night. If thieves see there is nothing in your car, they are less enticed to break in.
- Keep your doors locked even while you’re in the car. In large cities, thieves might try and break in while you’re in the car at a stoplight or stop sign. So stay alert.
Rental cars are break in magnets because tourists are often thief magnets. When traveling, you tend to keep more things in the car than you would otherwise, so it’s even more important to avoid break ins.