Auto thefts are among the criminal threats faced by the average Malaysian driver today, and although it’s nothing new, people still continue to fall victim to such smash and grab robbers. While you can’t deter “smash-and-grab” thieves entirely, you can actually follow a few simple steps to minimize the likelihood of falling victim and prevent it from happening to you.
One thing you need to know is that “smash-and-grab” thieves aren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Many are just casual opportunists, grazing around secluded parking areas without much of a plan or simply acting on impulse. Although some of them do wait for the right opportunity to move, most of them will smash and grab anything that they see with their naked eye.
Therefore, you should never leave your wallet, purse or handbag on the passenger seat or in view, like the centre console or the back seat. The best place to store your handbag as you are driving along, is in the rear passenger foot-well. You should also recline the front seat slightly so it is even harder to see from the outside. You can also store your bags under the seat if it fits.
Most thefts are solitary work. The last thing thieves want is a crowd of onlookers with cell phones and pepper-spray at the ready. So try to keep your car conspicuous by parking in busy parking lots and designated spaces, near pedestrian walkways and heavy vehicle traffic. If there’s a chance you’ll be away from your car after dusk, park in a well-lit or well-traveled area.
The theft of small items from cars may yield for the occasional bonanza like your wallet or iPad, for instance; but many thieves go for small items because of their inherent amusement value like your smartphone or some cash. What a thief wants is fun or a trickle of supplemental revenue for as little work as possible.
By making your car a harder target for smash-and-grab thefts, you can make it less desirable by locking your doors and using one of those removable window-shades on all the windows when you park your vehicle. You should also install a car security window tint, because it makes the act of smashing and breaking into your car more time-consuming and a lot more conspicuous.
If you would like to hide away your valuable items in the car, avoid using the glove box because these are the obvious places where thieves look. Some vehicles come with an extra storage area in the boot to store away your laptop and other valuables, but keep in mind that if you have a great hiding place for your valuables, thieves would have probably thought of it, too.
While the boot is better than the passenger compartment for shopping bags and laptops, an experienced thief will often stake out a parking lot and watch you transfer your valuables. Move things before you get to your destination, and you’re a step ahead of the game.
You should also avoid parking next to large vehicle or any large objects like trees because someone could be hiding behind the object and waiting for the right time to make a move. Finally, if you’re really concerned about the potential risk of driving alone especially at night, ask your family or friends or preferably a male companion to accompany you on your drive to your destination.