We’ve all done it. When we’re in a rush and our valuables suddenly become inconveniences, we throw them on the floor and bury them in blankets and empty fast food bags. When you need to leave something in your car, there are better ways to hide it than with a giant mess. We’ll show you how to discourage thieves and keep your property out of sight.
We’ve examined a few of the best ways to keep small and medium-sized valuables safe in your vehicle. Our tips may not help you hide a wide screen television, but they can protect things like tablets, phones, and purses.
Utilize built-in storage
Every car has some form of built-in storage. It may not always be a large space, but it’s there. One of the best places to hide things is under seats and other pockets of empty space. Many newer family vehicles include wells for rear pilot seats to fold into, and these are perfect hiding places for your valuables when they aren’t occupied by a seat. Even putting your valuables in the glove compartment could keep them safe. After all, the idea of hiding valuables is to reduce the temptation for potential thieves.
The classic storage technique is to hide valuables in the trunk. While this is a very obvious move, and a potential thief may even see you placing things in the trunk, it’s still effective for a very simple reason. It’s much harder to pick a lock without being noticed than it is to smash a window, grab an item, and split.
Hiding valuables in the trunk is most effective in cars that do not provide trunk access through the backseat. Although these little hiding holes are convenient, they allow anyone who smashes a window to directly access the trunk.
The second weakness comes in cars with rear hatch buttons on the dashboard. It’s a popular feature, but it does undermine the value of the trunk as a hiding place. Again, however, if your goal is simply to keep valuables out of sight rather than actually securing them, then the trunk is one of your best options.
Disguise them as something else
If you know you will have to leave your valuables in the car and you have a little time to plan, it’s best to create a disguise. Keep one or two cereal boxes and other dry food storage items on hand. They’re great for hiding smaller items, such as tablets and even laptops.
No one is going to break into a car to steal a box of kids’ cereal. In a pinch, a paper grocery sack will work, too. Groceries aren’t particularly tempting to thieves since they have little to no resale value. The best way to utilize this disguise is to keep a bag of fake groceries in your car, or in a place where you can grab them on your way out the door. A bag full of cereal boxes will draw even less attention than a lone cereal box.
Choosing disguises that would put off a potential thief are even better. Small electronics may be hidden in boxes saved from women’s sanitary products. Such items make the vast majority of men uncomfortable, and men are more likely than women to violently break into a car.
Assess the risk
Ultimately, the best way to keep your valuables safe is to keep them on your person or leave them at home. Sometimes, though, that’s just not possible. Still, when you can, stop to assess the risks involved and see what you can do to mitigate them.
Do you need to take your tablet to the movie theater? Leaving it at home could keep it safer. If your friends want to leave their purses in your trunk, ask to make sure nothing irreplaceable is in their bags. If at all possible, try to break the habit of leaving things in your car.