Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



How to Help Prevent Burglaries to Vehicles

The Basic Rule: Lock Your Doors and Windows

     There are some good points about Recreation Vehicles contained in the section on "What to do when going on Vacation". Check there for tips on protecting your camper, etc.

  • Always lock the car doors and roll up windows (no matter how hot it is outside); an open car is the perfect target for theft or damage.

  • Put valuables in your trunk-don't leave them inside your car to be seen.

  • If you own or want to own a CB radio or stereo tape player, get the "pull-out" type that can be removed easily and put inside the car trunk while you are not in the car; this too prevents temptations to the thief. CB radios and stereo players are "hot" items in the stolen goods market.

  • Another suggestion about CB radios or stereo tape players: you can get them built into your dashboard; this is more expensive than the previously stated suggestion but it also prevents theft and eliminates your having to continually remove your system.

  • Beware of hitchhikers: there have been many tragedies, as well as stolen cars, from innocent drivers picking up a hitchhiker.

  • Keep your driver's license and car registration with you-not in your car (you only help the car thief by leaving it in the car).

  • Report to the police if you notice anyone walking along a street or parking lot looking into cars or touching cars, or removing gasoline or license plates; some car thieves will lift the hood of a car to pretend they are working on it while actually they are stealing it. Be wary of suspicious activity and report it immediately-give description of any person you have observed.

  • If you get stopped on the highway by a police officer, be polite and courteous; the officer is doing his job.

  • Parking: If you park at a public or commercial garage where they require you to leave your car keys in the car while you're gone (it's best to not use this type of parking lot), leave only the ignition key. Take all other keys with you, burglars have been known to "borrow" a car, use the owner's keys to burglarize the owner's home or at least make duplicates of the owner's keys for later use. (If the burglar used the owner's own car, the neighbors would not be suspicious either). Do not put your address or telephone number on a car or even in your key case-if it is lost or stolen, someone else knows exactly how and where to enter your car, home, etc.

  • Don't bother to hide an extra key inside your car-it is always easily found.

  • At nighttime, park only in lighted areas, preferably near a corner.

  • Mark your CB radio, stereo player and other special and removable items with your driver's license number or some other identifying mark with an engraver; this aids in recovering the items if stolen and also helps identify the thief. An engraver can be borrowed at no cost from your police department. Do it today!

  • Never carry the title to your car inside the car; do not sign your title except at the time you are actually handing it to someone who is buying your car.
  • Carry your credit cards (including gasoline credit cards) with you and not in the car; you only aid the thief to escape by leaving them inside the vehicle.

  • You may want to consider installing a car alarm which sounds a loud noise if someone tampers with your vehicle.

  • You may also want to consider installing an extra ignition switch in the glove box or under the dash board; this delays and many times frustrates a would-be car thief from starting the engine, but does not cause you inconvenience because you know where it is located.

  • When traveling: don't leave luggage inside the car when stopping at restaurants, etc. Your luggage is an easy mark for being stolen.

  • Never leave children alone in the car.

  • In your home garage, never leave the keys to the ignition or anything else inside the car; keep the garage door closed and locked all the time.

  • When returning to your car, check the back seat before getting in; if you are ever followed by a suspicious person on a highway, pull into a gas station or other public place that is lighted and where there are people; report the person following you to the police.

  • Mark your car in secret places with an identifying symbol or number; this will help return your car to you if it is stolen even if the 
    serial number has been removed.

  • When leaving a parking lot, check first to make sure everything is in order; check especially close to see if the car was possibly driven while you were gone-(check mileage, gasoline, etc); report any suspicious findings before you leave the parking lot. (The reason for this is that many criminals "borrow" parked cars from lots to perform their criminal acts and return the car without anyone knowing any better.


  • When parking at a public or commercial parking lot, never give a specific or direct answer to the parking lot attendant's question "How long will you be?" This will prevent your car from being placed in the back part of the lot and may prevent it from being stolen or used in a crime by someone. Give an answer such as "Oh, I don't know . . . 10 minutes . . . maybe an hour. I'm not sure."

    Nationwide, parking lots have increasingly been found to be a major location for car thefts and where burglars are able to get keys and other information about persons to enable them to burglarize the car owner's home etc.


  • Consider installing a hood lock and a gasoline cap lock; they will prevent tampering with your vehicle, reduce the chances of theft and prevent gasoline from being stolen. Back to top

For more information, contact the Office of 
State Senator Vincent J. Fumo

1208 Tasker Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 468-3866
2637 East Clearfield Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134
(215) 423-7670
Senate Box 203001
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
(717) 787-5661


Copyright 1996 by State Senator Vincent J. Fumo. Copyright is not claimed as to part of the original work prepared by an employee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, or Commonwealth governmental officer or employee as part of that person's official duties. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be copied, downloaded, stored, disseminated, transferred, or used, in any forms or by an means, except with State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's prior written permission.

Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo