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Leaving your car unlocked?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 13:09:41 MDT Print View

When parking at sketchy areas to hike, obviously you don't want to leave anything valuable in your car. But, would it be a good idea to leave your car unlocked? Even if you had nothing visible, it would only take someone a second to bust out the windows and check. If the car was unlocked, they would look through the car and then leave without breaking your window. Obviously they could steal your car, but they could do that regardless if you left it locked or not.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 13:17:08 MDT Print View

I've done both ways but usually lock up. Though I do know some who never lock it. I think it is all luck and no preparation in this one. Never been broken into at a trailhead. Been broken into in front of my house after a trip if that counts.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 13:36:05 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'm kinda debating this right now myself. Not the locked/unlocked problem, but the stuff problem. I'm roadtripping cross country this summer, and want to do a bit of hiking, but I'm really nervous about leaving my car, because it'll have stuff in it.

Edited by tekhna on 06/03/2012 13:36:39 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 13:48:11 MDT Print View

I've been lucky so far, in 23 years of living near and hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. I've been told, though, that a lot of car clouters automatically go ahead and break windows, not bothering to find out whether or not the car is locked. Leaving the car unlocked therefore accomplishes only a considerable reluctance on the part of your insurance company to pay for anything taken (I asked my agent about this).

Do remember that not just loose stuff but built-in gadgets like a radio or CD player are worth something to folks looking to finance their next meth fix.

I can tell you that if you visit the Columbia Gorge, never, never leave anything (of value or otherwise) in the car. The same, I'm told, is true of trailheads along I-90 in Washington state. If you're traveling, arrange to leave your luggage at a motel if you want to go hiking. This is not quite so true of trailheads that are a couple hours' drive on bumpy dirt roads from major highways, but even they get hit occasionally.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 14:07:16 MDT Print View

I always lock my car

I think it's better to just make sure nothing of value is visible.

I always leave a little trash around to make it look like the owner of the car is a poor slob with no possesions of value (easy for me).

And if you're at a trailhead and then put a bunch of stuff in the trunk, someone might see, do it before you get there

Gary Rath
(MudisFun) - F

Locale: PNW
Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 15:59:48 MDT Print View

I do lock mine, but I don't leave anything of value in my pickup.
I open up the glove box, the center console and tilt the seats forward generally to show as much of the inside as possible. If they broke in they could steel my Stock radio, the trucks guide book or my NW forest pass... I have come out of the Gorge and seen the car next to mine with a broken window, but so far no one has touched mine.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/03/2012 17:37:13 MDT Print View

I was at South Burnt Lake trailhead - mine was the only car, car locked, nothing of value visible, my car does have an alarm with a blinking red LED

When I got back after a couple days, there was a SUV broken into, they had a couple tubs with lids although no way to know if there was anything inside

My car was okay

Knock on wood, please don't punish me for saying this by having my car broken into the next time : )

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
Re: Leaving your car unlocked on 06/03/2012 17:40:16 MDT Print View

I still lock mine but recommend you look around the trailhead before you leave your car. One way to see if a trailhead is prone to vehicle break-ins is to look for broken glass–-the small pieces of auto safety glass. If you see ANY of this type of glass it's a sure sign that a vehicle break-in has occurred there.

A trailhead near a main road is not necessary a better bet–-my one and only break-in occurred at such a trailhead (off I-90 near Issaquah in Washington State). Easy in/out for the bad guys works to their advantage. Never ever leave any money (checks, C Cards, etc, etc) ANYWHERE in your vehicle–it only teaches the bad guys that easy $$$ might be available. If they don't find anything after repeated break-ins some of these losers may try another activity.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Leaving my car unlocked not much of an option on 06/04/2012 09:54:06 MDT Print View

I have a 1984 VW Westfalia pop-top camper van. It's stocked with my usual collection of summer car-camping gear: pots and pans, gadgets, supplies, tools, towels, sleeping bags, and so on and so on.

If it was an empty car, stripped of anything of interest, leaving it unlocked would be an option. But if I left it unlocked I could come back to find all my stuff missing. By locking it, I might just as easily come back to find my stuff missing, but would be also faced with a broken window.

Wait. I may have just talked myself out of locking it.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Leaving my car unlocked not much of an option on 06/04/2012 10:25:31 MDT Print View

"Wait. I may have just talked myself out of locking it."


The first question the insurance agent will ask is "Were any windows broken?"
The second question will be "Was it locked?"

If your coverage kicks in only if it was locked, then your answers are important to think about - before hand.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Leaving my car unlocked not much of an option on 06/04/2012 17:38:12 MDT Print View

Insurance doesn't cover items stolen from your car anyways... right?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Leaving my car unlocked not much of an option on 06/04/2012 17:41:30 MDT Print View

Homeowner's/Renter's insurance will cover it. We had a car break in last year in New Mexico.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Leaving your car unlocked? on 06/04/2012 20:02:30 MDT Print View

I lock my car. If someone really wants in, they will get in. To me locked doors keep the honest folks honest.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
automatic locking on 06/05/2012 08:11:26 MDT Print View

Some cars (mine) automatically lock themselves after a while, anyway. But I would still lock it for the insurance reasons listed above. I did have a laminated sign made that I stick in the window that says "Nothing of value in vehicle, no paperwork in vehicle." The 'no paperwork' thing is because thieves will also break into cars to get your address off of the registration and burgle your house while you're out hiking.

The sign may not deter a stupid thief, or one who assumes that you're lying, but it might at least let them know that I put some thought into removing anything they might want. And who knows, I may get a smart thief who does a risk/benefit analysis and decides that the risk outweighs the potential benefit given that I have claimed to to have removed everything of value.

Or, they might just smash all the windows and lights out of spite...

Meh. I don't think there is a good answer.

On the other hand I know that a LOT of Jeep owners in Hawaii just leave the top down so that no one cuts it open to get into the vehicle.