It doesn’t matter whether you keep your car squeaky clean or if it’s full of hamburger wrappers and empty soda cups under the passenger seat (hey, not judging), there are a few things that you should never leave in your car. Those hamburger wrappers probably won’t attract thieves and burglars, but a shiny piece of jewelry in plain sight or an iPhone sitting conveniently on the seat most certainly will.
Before listing out the top five things you should never leave in your car, it’s important to first clear up what is attracting burglars in the first place. Most burglars in the United States are opportunistic, meaning they’ll often be unprepared to commit their crime and instead will look for the path of least resistance. Doors unlocked or key still in the ignition? That’s a freebie for most burglars. Laptop or phone sitting on the seat? A smashed window and less than a minute’s work can net them a few hundred dollars on the black market.
Leaving valuables inside of your car is not a good idea, especially with the skyrocketing rates of car theft in the United States in 2022 and 2023. Below are five valuables you should never leave in your car and why:
Pets and children
This one might be the most obvious, and it’s certainly the most important. Indeed, we don’t mean disrespect by listing pets and children as ‘things’ but neither should you be leaving them behind in your car, not even for a moment.
If you have a child locked inside of your car then you should call 911 for emergency assistance. Hypothermia or heatstroke are only a few of the many dangers posed by having a child or your pet locked inside of the car.
Unfortunately, dozens and dozens of children and pets are left unattended in vehicles which are subsequently stolen every year. Quite often, this happens when a parent or caretaker decides to step outside of the vehicle at a gas station or a store to pay for just a few minutes. It only takes a couple of minutes to steal a vehicle, and many thieves might not even realize that there’s a child or pet inside until they’re well on their way.
Get in the habit of always taking your kids with you or leaving them behind at home with a guardian. If you must take your child or pet along for a ride with you, opt for drive-thru windows or delivery options instead, and if you absolutely have to leave your vehicle unattended for a moment or two, take your child with you.
Prescription medications can be highly sensitive to even minute temperature changes, so it is highly advised to not leave them behind in your vehicle. The potency of certain medications can be reduced or even nullified if temperatures inside of the vehicle reach certain thresholds. For example, freezing temperatures can lead to some medications freezing, which in turn causes crystals to form which can alter the potency of the active ingredients.
Conversely, hot temperatures (think 100 or higher on the thermostat) can also damage medications. On a hot summer day, your car can quite easily get 20-30 degrees hotter than outdoor temperature, which can ruin your medications.
Lastly, some burglars might have their eyes on prescription medication either for themselves or to sell on the black market.
Follow the instructions on the label or insert of your medications as it normally contains ideal temperature ranges and act accordingly, whether that be carrying around cold packs or keeping them in a container if you must carry them with you.
This category includes a sundry list of valuables that might include things like watches and jewelry, sunglasses, house keys, or sensitive documents. You probably don’t want these types of valuables to fall into the wrong hands, so don’t leave them behind in your vehicle.
Depending on the type of valuable, you should either carry it with you (e.g. sunglasses or jewelry), stash it in the glove compartment or in a secret location, or simply leave it at home if it isn’t essential.
The main point here, like with many of the other items listed in this blog post, is to keep valuables out of sight to deter opportunistic burglars.
Electronics are valuables that seem like they obviously shouldn’t be left behind in your car, but it still does happen and can attract burglary. Laptops, tablets, cell phones, or any other electronics that appear to be valuable should never be left behind in your vehicle and at the very least should be stashed away someplace hidden.
One great way to deter attempts at burglary and vehicle theft for van owners is to install security locks for vans. Vans might contain nothing of value inside, but to an opportunistic burglar there may be a perceived belief that the van does indeed hold items of value. Consider that many people work out of their van or even live in their van, and if it’s a panel van with no clear windows to see through, it’s anyone’s guess as to what (or who) might be inside.
It is also important to note that many electronics can fail at extremely cold or hot temperatures, so that’s another important reason to take your electronics with you, conceal them in a hidden or out of sight compartment, or leave them at home altogether.
Food and beverages
You might not have expected to see food and beverages on this list, but there are actually a few good reasons why you should avoid leaving these behind. Firstly, there is a risk of bacteria spreading through the vehicle, especially if you’ve left behind old food and drinks that have accumulated mold. This can, in turn, pose many health risks such as triggering respiratory problems. In all likelihood, it’ll also leave your car stinking up to high heaven – not good at all.
Food and beverages can also attract burglars, believe it or not. In some cities like in Oakland and San Francisco, burglars will just as quickly smash a window to steal a nickel as they will to steal a phone or watch, so it’s not too outlandish to believe that they’d do the same for some fries or a burger.
Secure your car with Auto Locksmiths
It’s almost always safe to say that you shouldn’t leave behind valuables in your car in this day and age, but even if there’s nothing visibly there that would attract a burglar, many may still try to break in and steal your vehicle.
Keeping your vehicle safe and secure starts with good, functional locks – any other layered measures of security will only add to your vehicle security. Get in touch with a genuine, local car locksmith near you.