The Seattle PI has a report on car prowls at malls while victims are inside shopping, and some advice on how to minimize your risk. Never leave anything of value in your car, and don’t assume that by throwing a coat over it you’ll disguise it. Instead, put it in the trunk.
Also, if you bring items out of a store and put them in your car (we mean trunk), don’t immediately go back in; instead, get in your car and drive to a new parking spot, because loading a car with items and going back inside is exactly the sort of behavior thieves watch for in mall parking lots.
The article doesn’t provide any good stats to prove that it’s a growing problem or anything—but there’s anecdotal evidence that the Christmas season is a good time to be a car prowler, because so many shoppers are already distracted, or filling up the back seat with gifts like it’s a temporary sleigh.
A few other good dos and don’ts:
- Leave your keys in your car (the police say it happens a lot more than you’d imagine).
- Leave identification or mail in your car.
- Leave your cell phone in your car.
- Lock the connection between your trunk and passenger compartment.
- Leave unneeded credit cards at home when going to a crowded shopping center.
- Jot down your parking spot so you don’t have to search for it laden with packages.
One other good bit of advice, which doesn’t fit the rest of the article but is useful nonetheless:
- Give children a card with contact information for you including a cell phone number.
“How to keep your car safe from thieves while shopping” [SeattlePI]