When designing a home security plan, we often ask customers about the belongings or valuables they most wish to secure. The overwhelming majority of them cite their car as the possession they could least afford to lose or have vandalized. Unfortunately, many families often create home security plans that do not adequately address secure their car. Often, this happens because many homeowners are unaware of the products on the market that can help add this security. In this post, we will share some of most valuable tips for increasing car security while at home.

We will begin by exploring some security equipment that helps track driveway activity. This can alert you to unexpected activity and allow you to check on a potential security risk immediately. From there, we will explore how cameras both deter and help solve car-related crime. Additionally, we will also focus on the benefits of adding smart garage door openers.  These openers can help homeowners keep any garage-bound cars out of sight of passersby. Next, we will explain why leaving spare keys in convenient locations does not always end well. Finally, we will share tips on making sure cars stay locked. Let’s dive in by sharing an easy way to stay in the know when people or cars enter your driveway.

An Optex motion detector and sounder.

Motion detector alert systems, such as this model by Optex, can detect motion and create an audible alert that lets you know when someone approaches your car.

Find Equipment That Alerts you to Driveway Activity

Cars in a driveway often make for an easy target for crime, especially at night. After all, even with people up and about in the house, these crimes often go undetected because nothing alerts the home’s residents to the activity in the driveway. Fortunately, homeowners can receive notification of driveway activity by purchasing some very simple equipment. Driveway notification systems, such as the Optex model pictured, can greatly help improve your home’s external security. Homeowners receive a few security benefits by installing this equipment. For starters, it can eliminate the aforementioned danger of someone approaching your car with ill intentions without you knowing about it.

Additionally, these detection systems greatly help people who work out of the home. People with home offices often have packages delivered right to the house for work purposes. Driveway annunciators can alert these individuals as their packages arrive. Furthermore, as we pointed out in our Home Security Tips for Holiday Shopping Season, these systems alert homeowners as gifts arrive at their homes after ordering them online. This can limit the time that valuable electronics or other gifts spend on the steps, vulnerable to “porch pirates.” Now, let’s look at how adding a surveillance presence to your driveway can add an additional layer of security.

Install Surveillance to Watch Your Car

Having equipment in place to alert you to driveway activity makes a great start towards improving car security in your home. In addition, consider adding equipment to give you “eyes” in your driveway at all times. Home surveillance systems provide just this security. If something criminal or even suspicious happens around your cars, you can review your camera footage to see what happened. In the case of a crime, this footage can also help bring those responsible to justice. Furthermore, the mere presence of cameras can act as a deterrent. Criminals scoping out homes will often move on quickly upon spotting surveillance cameras. Of course, not all homeowners keep their cars exposed in their driveways. This next tip can help add security for those who keep their cars in a garage.

An open garage with an Alarm.com cell phone display indicating that the garage has been left open

Smart garage door openers allow you check on — and control — your garage door remotely.

Utilize a Smart Garage Door Opener

We have integrated smart home equipment into our security systems for several years now. As homes get “smarter,” residents can control more of their home’s electrical appliances remotely now than ever before. Smart garage door openers have continued this trend in recent years. These openers allow users to open and close their garage doors remotely. Additionally, the Alarm.com garage openers that we install also create alerts if the garage door is left open for a certain amount of time, or past a specific time of day. This makes it harder than ever to leave your garage door open over the course of an entire workday or a weekend away from the house. Our next couple tips are easy to follow, but often get overlooked by victims of crime related to their cars. To begin, let’s see how leaving spare keys around the house can invite trouble.

Keep Spare Car Keys Hidden

After a break-in, the victimized homeowners have a lot of overwhelming tasks to complete in a short amount of time. Fixing the damage done to a home during the robbery and trying to track everything missing leads to plenty of stress, worry, and fatigue. In the middle of all of that activity, it should not surprise you that a missing set of spare car keys from a kitchen drawer can easily go unnoticed. As we pointed out in our post on Minimizing Loss from a Home Break-In, burglars sometimes grab spare keys left either hanging up or in drawers in hopes of stealing a car at a later date.

A set of car keys on a counter

Leaving spare car keys in easy-to-find locations makes it more likely that a home break-in leads to a stolen car as well.

We recommend keeping spare keys away from easy-to-find locations. Having a safe to store valuables in and putting spare keys inside makes a great solution to this danger. If you do not have a safe, at least keep your spare keys in a well-hidden, secure location. That way, you can easily check to see if they have been taken if you experience a burglary. Knowing exactly how many car keys you have and where they belong can help secure your car simply and easily. Next, we focus on one of the easiest yet frequently-ignored car security tips.

Double-Check Your Car Locks

Out of all the advice in this post, this measure is the simplest. However, failing to lock car doors still leads to outbreaks of crime in neighborhoods every single year. For proof, look no further than this recent news article describing events that happened just this past summer in Western Massachusetts. Why does this happen so often? A variety of factors can lead to forgetting to lock car doors. Maybe a homeowner plans on coming back out in a few minutes to run some errands and decides to stay home for the night instead. Or perhaps someone quickly unlocks a car door to grab an item forgotten earlier and fails to re-lock the door on the way out. Whatever the reason, this security mishap happens with surprising frequency.

Furthermore, many small-time thieves search for unlocked cars and do not even attempt breaking into locked vehicles. In the security industry, we hear many people say that “locks only keep honest people out.” However, in many cases, and especially when dealing with car security, locking up makes a big difference. Giving car doors one last check before turning in for the night can mean the difference between a car thief getting into your car or moving on to the next target.

Creating a Complete Plan to Improve Car Security at Your Home

We hope that this post has given you some ideas to secure your family’s cars. Having cars stolen, vandalized, and burglarized have long been among homeowners’ greatest security fears. Unfortunately for many, these fears are not unfounded. Taking the proper steps to secure your vehicles goes a long way towards lowering your chances of experiencing these crimes. If you have any questions about the material in this post, we encourage you to contact us. We will happily answer any security-related questions you may have. Additionally, we also offer free site surveys for homeowners. During our visit, we can make recommendations for securing your home both inside and out. Together, we can keep you, your family, and your most valuable possessions — including your vehicles — as safe and secure as possible!