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Tips to prevent car theft

"Car theft prevention tips* Never leave your car running, even if it's just to grab a quick espresso at a coffee shop or dash inside the house for forgotten papers. In fact, it's illegal to do so, said Mark Harreus, a crime prevention officer with the Federal Way Department of Public Safety.* Lock your doors and roll up your windows even if it's parked in front of your house. Locking your doors is basically the lowest level of security everyone should do, Harreus said.* Never leave valuables in plain view. Compact discs, sunglasses and other items people commonly leave out are very attractive to a thief, he said. Stow valuables in the truck or out of sight. Buy radios, tape and CD players that can be removed and locked in the trunk.* Car alarms only work if they're turned on and many people have them installed but don't use them, he said. If you have one, activate it every time you leave your car.* Consider buying an anti-theft device, such as mechanical locking devices for your steering wheel or pedal lock that prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. These devices are extremely effective, he said.* If you have a spare car key, keep it in your wallet or purse, not the glove box or attached to the underside of the car. Most auto thefts are crimes of opportunity. The owner left the keys in the ignition or up on the visor or in any of the other places car thieves know to look for keys, he said.* Park in well-lighted areas. In parking lots, park near pedestrian traffic so passing people will deter thieves.* When you pay to park in a lot or garage, leave just the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no personal information is attached. Do the same when you take your car in for repairs. "

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