I’ve lost track of how many people I know who have posted on Facebook, “Holy shit my car got broken into last night! They smashed my window, stole my backpack and my wallet with all my cash and credit cards! They got my freakin’ laptop and my iPad, they kidnapped my 4-year-old nephew, and they stole my puppy! My whole world is ruined thanks to some punk asshole!”

Okay, a wee hyperbolic, but the sad part is that it’s mostly true. Even sadder is that they deserved it.

Back in 1997 while working overnights at KZEL in Eugene, Oregon, I learned a valuable lesson and that is never leave a single thing of value in my car. At some point during the night someone smashed in my passenger-side window and stole the small handful of CDs I had sitting on the seat. Who steals CDs? Oh right, 1997... Anyway, I swept up the glass, went home, found new glass at a bone yard, installed it, and decided right then and there that leaving anything of value in my vehicle would be a mighty rare occasion. I’ve even taken it one step further...

From 2010 to 2013 I was a reserve deputy with my (then) local sheriff’s office, and during that time I learned that what I’d figured out back in 1997 was absolutely true. Keep nothing of value in your vehicle, and leave the doors unlocked. Think about it, a skilled car thief will steal your car no matter what you do. The rest are common idiots thieves who either systematically work a neighborhood, or they seize upon an opportunity. 99.9% of the time the first thing they will do is try the door. Why? Breaking windows makes the kind of noise that dogs are especially prone to coming unglued over. They’ll first try the door, if it’s unlocked they’ll either take what there for the taking, or if there’s nothing they’ll move on. If they find the door locked they’ll quickly scan inside the car, and if they catch even the slightest whiff of something valuable, they’ll risk taking out a window to get to it.

For the last 18 years I have kept nothing of value in my car, and I’ve left the doors unlocked. Sure, I’ve come out in the morning to find that my car’s been tossed during the night, but they took nothing and they broke nothing. When the time comes when I absolutely have no choice (out shopping at multiple stores, for instance) I always make sure to keep the purchases out of site in the trunk, and lock the interior trunk access.


I pass along this wisdom every time I see a post about things being stolen from a vehicle, and most of the time I get a wall of resistance. One guy just could not wrap his brain around the idea of leaving his car unlocked. He’s one of those types that presses the button on the fob four times (weep-weep, weep-weep, weep-weep, weep-weep), you know, just to make sure the car is extra locked. But even if you simply must lock your doors to placate whatever illogical psychosis you suffer from, make absolutely sure that there is not a single speck of value to be seen anywhere.