6 ways to prevent car theft

Stash your valuables in the trunk or glove box. If someone sees your laptop or wallet (or even just some loose change) sitting in your car, they could be tempted to break in and take it — and once they're inside, it'll be mighty tempting to drive away, too.

Park in well-lit, visible areas.Car thieves perform better without an audience, so avoid parking in dark alleyways or other hidden spaces. For extra security, try to park close to building entrances or parking lot cameras.

Lock it up and shut it down. Avoid leaving your windows open or doors unlocked, even in your own driveway — and never (ever) leave your running car unattended. It might be tempting to start your car and leave it to warm up on a chilly winter morning, but a running car with an unlocked door and no driver in sight could be pretty irresistible to a thief.

Hide your keys.While it might seem like a good idea to keep your car keys on a hook by the front door, it's also the first place a thief will think to look for them. Whether someone breaks into your house or just opens your unlocked front door, they'll be thrilled to see a shiny set of keys just waiting to be taken.

Sound the alarms.If your car didn't come with a built-in alarm system, consider having one installed — and don't forget to put a sticker on your windshield to let thieves know an alarm is in place.

Create a physical barrier. Consider enhancing your vehicle's security by using a physical anti-theft device like a steering wheel lock. Not only will it make the thief's job a lot harder, but if the metal bar is visible from outside the window it could scare them off before they even get started.

This article was originally posted on economical.com.

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