Cars are stolen all the time in the US, and it’s pretty much a bad thing for everyone involved.

It drives up insurance premiums, primes the pipeline in which other crimes are committed, and more.

Here are some tips from the LAPD Van Nuys Division to help protect yourself from becoming the victim of this crime:

  • Never leave your car unattended while it is running; even if someone else is inside. Auto thieves can easily smash a window, jump in the car and take off.
  • Park in well-lit areas with high amounts of traffic. Most thieves prefer as little visibility as possible.
  • Never leave anything of value in plain view. Once again, a quick smash and grab could leave your valuables in the hands of a thief.
  • Make sure you have your license plate and VIN numbers available to you someplace that isn’t in your car. If it does get stolen, the police will need these numbers to locate your vehicle.

There are plenty of other things you can do, like purchasing a locking mechanism for your car’s steering wheel and keeping your windows up and locked when the car isn’t in use.

Ultimately, no one can be 100% safe, but following these tips can help to greatly reduce the odds you’ll fall victim to auto theft in your lifetime.