Month after month, city after city, people across our coverage area have had their cars broken into. Many people only find the damage hours after the thieves have hit and run.
“It makes you feel violated,” Margaret Hunt told WPTV last week, after waking up on her birthday to a smashed in car window. Hunt told Contact 5 Investigator Merris Badcock her car door was “definitely locked”.
“No alarm went off, so I say to myself, 'Why do I even have an alarm? Why don’t I leave my doors open?'” Hunt said.
The numerous incidents got us wondering if it is possible to break into a car without setting off the alarm and whether or not residents are better off leaving their cars unlocked.
Angel Borges, owner of Angel’s Auto Care Service Center in West Palm Beach tells us it is possible for thieves to break into cars without setting off the alarm, and breaking a window is one of the easiest ways to do it.
“If I bang on [the window] before I break it, no alarm goes off. You have to open the vehicle [to set off the alarm],” Borges said.
He explains most car windows are not connected to the car’s security system, which is why no alarm is triggered when glass is shattered.
“If I didn’t want to set off the alarm, I would just [break the glass], jump over the window, grab and run. That only takes five, six, seven seconds,” said Borges. “Your GPS, your Turnpike transponder: they do not care. Thieves will steal whatever is of value.”
Borges says he does not leave anything of value in his car, and recommends people do the same.
“If you have to leave it in the vehicle, hide it,” Borges said.
The auto mechanic also showed our cameras something else: no key fob, no alarm system.
“I would advise those owners to consider purchasing an after-market alarm system. There are a variety of options out there that they can seek and that would be within their budget,” said Borges.
“The thing about a perpetrator is, they have time on their hands. They are sitting in the parking lots waiting for the right victim. If a crook wants to get in, he will get in; alarm, or no alarm.
Which is why Borges also recommends always locking your car. “You don’t want to make it easy for them to break into your vehicle.”
High-tech thieves can also break into locked cars using a code reader, a machine which reads your key fob code over the airwaves if you use the fob to lock your car. Borges says the best way to stop thieves from getting you fob’s code is to manually lock your car instead.