Stop Car Prowling

A message from the Federation of Calgary Communities

Car prowling is a crime of opportunity. Here are a few tips to reduce your risks:

  • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop, and look around the area.
  • Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows, and lock the doors.
  • Park in a well-lit area, use parking lots frequented by others, and avoid parking behind fences or hedges. A prowl attempt is more likely in darkened or secluded areas.
  • Put all valuables and gifts in your trunk. If that’s not possible, conceal gifts and other valuables. A car prowler will almost always look inside a car for valuables before risking a break-in. Keeping valuables out of sight reduces your risk.
  • Try not to unload gifts in your vehicle and then leave it unattended in the same parking spot. Car prowlers might be on the lookout for shoppers traveling back and forth from stores to unload gifts.
  • Never leave your car running unattended. Vehicles are commonly stolen at ATMs, convenience stores, and self-serve gas stations.
  • If possible, store your vehicle in a closed and locked garage.
  • If you park in an attached garage, always lock the door leading from the house to the garage and the garage door.
  • If you don’t park in a secure garage at home, don’t leave gifts in cars overnight to keep them secret. Plan some way to move them inside the home undetected or have your gifts wrapped before you bring them home.
  • If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave your exterior lights on throughout the night.
  • If you park on the street, choose a well-lit, open space even if it means adding extra street/yard lighting and trimming back trees/bushes blocking your view of your vehicle.
  • Consider replacing the light fixture closest to your car with a motion detector unit. Motion detectors are good psychological deterrents as the normal assumption of a person seeing a light come on is that someone has seen them. The light also makes the prowler or thief more visible.
  • After opening an automatic gate to underground parking, wait for the gate to close before you park. Watch out for thieves waiting to slip in behind you.
  • Avoid parking in attended lots. They’re a major source of copied keys which can be used later to steal your vehicle and valuables.

If your car is broken into:

  • Inventory missing articles for later use with the police or an insurance claim.
  • Call the police and file a report. Consider whether surveillance cameras are present that could identify the individual or individuals involved. Even if there’s little chance of catching the suspect, alerting the police can help prevent somebody else’s car from being prowled.