Auto Theft Prevention

There are no guaranteed theft prevention practices or devices. However, you can reduce your risk by making it as difficult as possible for a thief to steal your car.

"Harden" the Target and eliminate the Opportunity

  • Lock all doors and roll up the windows when leaving your car unattended
  • Take your keys with you; don’t leave them in the ignition—even when you’re "just running into the store for a minute"—this is like handing your keys to a thief!
  • Do not hide a second set of keys in/on your car
  • Replace all door lock buttons with the slim, tapered lock buttons
  • Park in well-lighted areas
  • Park in attended lots, when possible
  • Never attach a tag with your name and/or address to a key ring
  • Leave only an unmarked ignition key with parking attendants
  • Never let a potential buyer test-drive your car alone
  • Park your car in your garage, if you have one
  • Lock your car even when it’s parked in your garage
  • Lock your garage door
  • Park with your wheels turned toward the curb
  • Install and use a car alarm
  • Install and use a steering wheel lock
  • Install and use an electrical kill switch
  • Install and use a fuel interrupter switch
  • Install an electronic tracking device
  • Consider using tire locks/boots if your car will be parked for an extended period of time
  • Avoid parking your car on the street
  • Avoid leaving your car unattended in public parking lots for extended periods of time
  • Have your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etched on windows, doors and other car parts
  • Some newer cars have electronic coded keys—use them
  • Visible packages can attract thieves; put packages out of sight or in the trunk
  • Never loan your car or keys to an acquaintance
  • Ask your neighbors to watch your vehicle when you are out of town
  • Secure motorcycles, ATVs, etc., to a fixed object with a heavy chain and padlock
  • Make sure you activate all anti-theft devices—better yet, install a device which automatically activates when you leave the vehicle

Watch Your Car

Watch You Car LogoThe Watch Your Car decal program is a free, voluntary program whereby vehicle owners enroll their vehicles with the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority. The vehicle is then entered into the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) database and participants receive decals for their front and rear windows. By displaying the decals, vehicle owners convey to law enforcement officials that their vehicle is not usually in use between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., when the majority of auto thefts occur.

If a police officer witnesses the vehicle in operation between these hours, they have the right to stop the vehicle and verify it is being legally operated by the rightful owner. Follow this link to the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority to sign up for the Watch Your Car program.