There are some things in this world I just can’t stand. Olives on pizza. People who don’t throw up the “thanks” hand when you let them merge. And thieves. Not necessarily in this order (though I do really hate olives). Anyone who’s been the victim of theft shares the same sinking feeling of disappointment. Of course there are some other emotions thrown in there, including anger, regret and sadness. And some choice words, no doubt! But there’s a huge wave of overwhelming disappointment knowing a fellow human would deliberately inflict pain onto another by taking what’s not theirs.
Getting into the mind of a thief would be a topic for a whole new day. I have a journalism degree, not a psychology degree after all. So let’s disregard the why behind the thieving, and look at what’s more in your control. How you can prevent theft from occurring.
Theft is typically considered a calculated move where you’ve been deliberately targeted. In most cases, that isn’t true. Many thefts occur as a result of opportunity, which is why it’s important to think about where you park your vehicle. My mum will drive around a car park endlessly to find a spot that is next to both a wall and a pole. She’s paranoid about having her car scratched or someone opening their door onto hers. In the same way (but perhaps not as endlessly as my mother) you need to consider safe places to park your car. If you don’t have your own secure location, like a garage, make sure it’s somewhere in plain view of public. Most of the time there are good citizens around who will photograph perpetrators or even step in and stop them. If you’re parking at night and people are less likely to be out and about to witness anything, try to park it with another vehicle, on a busy street with houses or behind a gate in your backyard (if this is available to you). This all reduces temptation to steal either gear off of your rig, or the entire vehicle itself.
Use anti-theft technology
Ultimate9’s LiveTrack Stealth is one piece of gear that could prevent you saying goodbye to your fourbie forever. Sitting at $299, what it does is allow you to set up geofences, track your vehicle in real time and receive notifications when the vehicle senses motion or begins moving. So if you’re in bed reading a book and suddenly your vehicle is on the move, you’ll know about it. “But Jess, thieves aren’t all born yesterday. Surely they’ll spot it and then I’m done for anyway.” I hear you. And Ultimate9 predicted your assumption, which is why they designed it to be no larger than a box of matches. This makes it easy for you to conceal from plain sight. If I was a thief, I’d be paralysed by paranoia that a LiveTrack Stealth was concealed somewhere.
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle
I’ll admit, I’m guilty when it comes to leaving items in my vehicle. Often I’ve got far too much to carry and I live on the third floor of an elevator-less apartment block. However, I’d never leave anything of value in there, simply due to the fact that I think it would tempt thieves. If you absolutely, no way around it, have to leave valuables in the car then make sure they’re very well concealed or put in the glovebox.
Don’t leave your keys on your wheel
This one is directed at someone very specific. *cough* my partner *cough*. I personally would never leave my keys on the wheel of my parked vehicle, yet it seems to be common practice, especially in beachy, surf towns such as the one I hail from. Considering I know that, don’t you think thieves might too? Leaving your keys on your wheel for when you return from a walk or a quick surf is not dissimilar to leaving a piece of cake and a spoon with a note saying “please eat me.” You’re not only tempting thieves, but you’re handing them the keys too. It wouldn’t even take any sleuth work. They’d just need to walk past, see the key, jump in and away she goes. It wouldn’t even raise any alarm bells to onlookers. I have nothing else to say here other than just don’t do it.
Use an alarm system
A simple one but a good one nonetheless. Nothing makes neighbours peer out of their window faster than a car alarm to both check it isn’t their vehicle going off and to give the side eye to the guy who’s disturbing everyone. A loud alarm system might be all you need to get Mr Thief running and/or alert you of their presence.
Although it may feel like you’re acting paranoid by employing some of these methods, I promise you that this feeling trumps the feeling of regret when you realise you lost your precious 4×4 to theft. I’m definitely not victim blaming anyone who has had their vehicle stolen. It unfortunately happens to the best of us. But in an attempt to shelter you from this heart shattering experience, I would highly encourage you to take some of these tips into consideration. You never know when they may come in handy.