If you want to learn how to break into a car, all it takes is a quick spin around the Internet to come up with plenty of simple methods, from MacGyver-style physical tricks to more sophisticated gadgets designed specifically to defeat today's remote-entry systems. As detailed by Stephen King in Mr. Mercedes, it's no tricky task for a computer-savvy criminal to put together a toy that can intercept and capture the signal from a key fob, then allow the criminal to use it to unlock the vehicle with a press of a button.
On the other hand, someone with a bit more crime-prevention background—Lt. David Scott of the Detroit Police Department at Wayne State University—notes that in the real world: "I have found that thieves are generally lazy people. They don't want to have to work very hard to get what they want."
That means most Autobytel readers don't need to worry as much about criminal masterminds and the like; they should concentrate on foiling the perps who already know how to break into a car in the two easiest ways possible: either opening an unlocked door or smashing a window.
But as Lt. Scott reports, even making sure you lock your vehicle isn't really the key: "A thief has absolutely no problem breaking your car window to get inside to steal your property. It's your window—not his window. Breaking it won't cost the thief anything and is only a very minor inconvenience of just one or two seconds."
Thus, if you don't want someone who knows how to break into a car to break into your car, the most important advice from Lt. Scott is not to provide a reason to do so: "It is physically impossible for a thief to steal something that isn't there. Your goal, therefore, is to leave nothing of value, or that appears to have value, inside your car to pique the interest of a thief. If there is nothing inside your car to steal, the thief will quickly move on."
That's because when they learn how to break into a car, they also learn the following lessons—which drivers can turn around for their own benefit, too.