10 Tips to Save your Car Window at Trailhead
There are more and more trailhead break-ins happening. Some locations are too remote for any type of law enforcement to oversee these crimes. It is up to those that are parking their cars, to make sure nothing worth stealing is in the car.
Last year a friend of mine stayed the night on top of Mount Pilchuck only to come down to find his friends car had been burglarized. His friend had left his laptop in there. The picture I used on this blog was a break-in at Padilla Bay Trailhead. Nothing was stolen, but the window was broken.
1. Leave your car unlocked
2. Do not have anything that you care about in your car
3. If you must leave something, try to conceal it. In the trunk is best (But still keep car unlocked!!)
4. You can go as far as putting a sign up saying that you have nothing of value
5. Hide a "game cam" nearby facing your car for possible evidence (Not sure if this is worth the effort)
6. Take pictures of the other cars, including their license plates for more information to put into a possible report
7. Never put stickers for BRANDS on your car***
8. Hikers may want to take all documents that have their name and address on them so the theirs do not have your address
9. Report all break-ins with authorities. Making them aware could help prevent future issues.
10. If you have the option, take a car that is less flashy and may not have the look theives are after
***Got a Patagonia (etc..) sticker on your car? You've made yourself a target. You're letting thieves know that you have a taste for valuable products. People like to do this because branding is a powerful thing, and they like to project an image about themselves that's associated with the brands of their choosing. My recommendation for those people is to stick to stickers that show the places you've been or the organizations that you support. It sends a similar message without the "break into me" subtext.
When I suggest to people that they leave their cars unlocked, it seems to be a tough idea for them to accept. My response is - You must have something in your car that you are worried will get stolen then. If someone wants to get into your car, then they WILL break your window. Better to go home without having to worry about replacing a window! If you do keep your car locked, then leave it thinking 'I could have left it unlocked because there isn't anything in there that I would care to lose'!
Cars can be stolen from a trailhead also of course. Keep in mind that if someone wants to steal your car, they will find a way. Locking the doors will not prevent this. Some hikers that have an option of cars to choose from, will take a car that is less likely to be stolen or looks like it has anything of value in it.
After a hike at the Fragrance Lake trailhead and we ran into Ranger Amber. She was evaluating the scene a car with a smashed window. After we chatted, she backed up my thoughts on leaving your car unlocked.
For another take on this subject - http://www.wta.org/signpost/keeping-your-car-safe-at-the-trailhead