Halloween Is the Worst Night of the Year for Vehicle Vandalism, but You Can Prevent It
Common sense tips can save you from filing an insurance claim later
Halloween is the worst night of the year when it comes to vehicle vandalism and a top night for thieves looking to make a quick score. In fact, compared to your average day, you're twice as likely to be a victim of vehicle vandals on Halloween. While you may not become a victim, there are a few things you can do to lower your risks and hopefully make it through this mischievous night unscathed.
Traveling to a Party
If you're like most people, you probably don't think much about your parking situation when you go out and about. But you should be thinking about it on Halloween and the days leading up to and following it, especially if you're going out late. When you're going to a new neighborhood, see if you can get a heads up before you go about where you should park. While you're at it, plan to get there a little early because the best spots are bound to fill up quickly. Try to stick to well-lit and open areas.
If you're going to a good spot downtown, try parking in a well-lit parking deck or a controlled access parking lot, which typically have at least one attendant all night to collect parking fees. Not only does the light deter vandals, an attendant can also act as a deterrent since most vandals and thieves won't take any risks if a potential witness is hanging around.
Get a Ride
The best way to protect your vehicle if you're traveling on Halloween might be to leave it at home and get a ride, whether it be a friend, rideshare, cab or even public transit. You'll have to shell out a few bucks, but you won't have to find a parking spot, walk very far if you don't find a good spot, and won't have to worry about driving home if you end up having a few too many drinks. Consider this method as your free pass to drink, eat and have fun! If you are headed out with friends, see if you can convince one of them to pick you up. Consider bribing with gas money or picking up part of the tab.
Use Your Garage if You Have One
Many people who have garages don't use them for their cars, instead turning them into storage units for extra stuff that doesn't get used and will likely never get used. But think about it. If you park in your garage, your vehicle won't be an opportunistic target.
This is a great opportunity for you to clean out your garage and sell your unneeded stuff. Even better, donate the stuff you don't need for a last-minute tax deduction. If it's simply not possible to clean it out, you might be able to share a neighbor's garage in exchange for bringing over some drinks and snacks!
If You Don't Have a Garage
Most security experts will tell you to park as close to your home as possible, whether that is in your driveway or on the street. But don't just presume that the closest spot is the best. You'll have to look around and evaluate your situation, such as whether there is ample lighting or whether the closet spot is near a bunch of overgrown shrubs or other hiding places.
Brighten Up Your Home, Yard and Street
Light has a deterrent effect on thieves and vandals, who prefer to lurk in the shadows and come out only long enough to do what they need to do. So turn your lights on to make your home and yard as bright as possible. Not only will the light deter would-be vandals, it will attract trick-or-treaters, who will also act as a deterrent. Someone won't come up to your car in your driveway if you have a steady flow of people coming and going.
If there are malfunctioning streetlights in front of your home or on your street, get it fixed now. In most cases the power company is responsible, but sometimes your municipality maintains the lights. Either way, have the nearest address and/or pole number for the light, which will help locate the issue and get repairs started. If you're feeling adventurous, report any other malfunctioning streetlights in your neighborhood. Any dark spots in the neighborhood will attract vandals and thieves to the neighborhood, who might decide to visit you.
Don't Attract People to Your Car
While some vandals are only looking to slash tires or throw eggs, some more sophisticated thieves operate on Halloween because they can conceal themselves with masks and costumes while not drawing any attention to themselves. So, don't attract these thieves to your car by leaving anything of value visible.
Don't leave your purse or wallet visible on the front seat, which surprisingly does happen. It takes only seconds to smash your window and run off with your stuff in an operation known as a "smash and grab." Don't leave tools in your truck, navigation systems on the dash, or anything else of value where people can see. Bags on the seats or floor present an attractive target, which might be filled with money or might be filled with worthless garbage. Thieves don't know the difference until they smash your window and take it. So why suffer damages in the first place? Basically, make your car as empty as possible.
Use Your Car's Alarm
We understand that most people these days have become tone-deaf to car alarms. But if your car has one, why not use it? Even if it won't scare away a die-hard thief, it will likely scare away an experienced teenager looking for a quick score. Just like vandals and thieves don't like light, they don't like a lot of noise to attract attention.
Keep in mind that the alarms on most vehicles will not turn on unless you use your key fob to lock the car.
Common Sense: Lock Up
It's amazing that many people still don't lock their cars. Even if your car is in your driveway, you should still be locking it. A dedicated thief might not be deterred by a locked car with an attractive target inside, but many opportunistic vandals, who steal only because it's convenient, won't smash a window and risk drawing attention.
If you have a pickup truck or work truck with locking tool boxes, use common sense and lock them, too.
These Tips Apply All Year
Thieves and vandals operate all year long, not just on Halloween. So use them all year to protect yourself from loses.