Breakin Prevention

There was a recent caller who complained about repeated breakins to her older car. As someone who parked on NYC streets for years I am something of an expert. Of course I always left the glove box and ashtray open when parked overnight. I even went so far as to install a radio deep under the dash behind the glove box on my Rabbit which I bet wouldn’t have been discovered even during a strip. I didn’t go so far as to leave the car unlocked (homeless people or crackheads would take temporary shelter if you did), and felt that a car alarm was the worst thing you could do. Alerting all of your neighbors to the fact that your door window has been broken doesn’t unbreak the window, and plenty of cars in NY get vandalized simply because of overly ambitious alarms.

All of this aside, the single most effective preventive is trash. Hamburger wrappers, used paper coffee cups, wet wipes… The more clutter in your car, the less attractive it will be to thieves.

I don’t have peer reviewed clinical trials to prove this, but I do have strong anecdotal evidence. I once lent my car to a friend for a month while I was away. He totally cleaned up the car and even vacuumed the interior while I was away. Before my trip the interior had been a trash heap, and break-in events were well below average for the neighborhood. Low and behold, the car was broken into the very night I had the car back. I haven’t cleaned out my car since that day!

Fake dirty baby diapers might be a nice addition under your anecdotal review!

While I generally agree with you. I was in downtown cleveland and someone broke into all the cars on a block. Mine was full to the gills with garbage (the thieves were nice enough to clean it for me while looking for something to take) They ended up taking my fishing poles (completely missing that the face plate to my radio was under the drivers seat). I found the fishing poles thrown in the bushes next to a car that once had a nice stereo. Kept my doors unlocked ever since with no broken windows.