What do Car Burglars look for?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.


It’s an unfortunate fact that car burglaries happen more often than we’d like to believe. While some break-ins are random, others are carefully planned and executed. It’s important to understand what car burglars look for so that we can take steps to protect our vehicles and belongings. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the mindset of car burglars and examine what they’re searching for when they target a car.

What do Car Burglars look for?

The Target:

Car burglars look for an easy target. They want to minimize the risk of getting caught, so they’ll choose a vehicle that’s vulnerable. This could mean a car parked in an isolated area, one that’s unlocked, or one that has valuable items in plain sight. Car burglars are opportunistic, and they’re looking for the path of least resistance.

A car parked in a remote area is an easy target for burglars. They’ll seek out vehicles that are parked in poorly lit, deserted areas where there’s little chance of being seen. Burglars will often stake out parking lots, apartment complexes, and other areas where people leave their cars unattended for long periods of time. If you’re going to park your car in an isolated area, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions to protect your vehicle.

The Unlocked Door:

One of the easiest ways for a burglar to gain access to a car is through an unlocked door. Car burglars are constantly checking door handles to see if they can find an unlocked car. They’ll often walk down rows of parked cars, checking each door handle as they go. If they find an unlocked car, they’ll take advantage of the opportunity and quickly make their way inside.

Burglars also look for cars with windows that are left open, even if it’s just a crack. They can easily slip a tool through the opening and unlock the door from the inside. If you’re parked in a public area, always double-check that your doors are locked and your windows are closed before leaving your car unattended.

Valuables in Plain Sight:

Car burglars are often motivated by the items they see inside a car. They’re looking for anything of value that they can quickly grab and take with them. This could be a laptop, a phone, a purse, or even loose change. They’re especially interested in items that are easy to sell or pawn for quick cash.

When you leave valuables in plain sight, you’re inviting burglars to break into your car. They don’t need any special skills or tools to smash a window and grab your belongings. If you must leave valuables in your car, try to hide them from plain sight. Put them in the trunk, or cover them with a blanket or jacket.

The Car Itself:

Believe it or not, the car itself can be a target for burglars. High-end luxury cars are often targeted because burglars assume that the owners have valuable items inside. They’ll also look for cars with out-of-state license plates or rental car stickers because they’re more likely to have travelers’ valuables inside.

Burglars are also interested in cars that are easy to break into. Older cars with worn-out locks and latches are easy targets because they can be easily pried open. Cars with tinted windows are also attractive to burglars because they can’t see inside and assess the potential for valuable items.

The Element of Time:

Car burglars are well aware of the element of time. They want to get in and out quickly without drawing attention to themselves. Therefore, they tend to target cars that are parked for extended periods, such as in parking lots, office complexes, or residential areas where people leave their vehicles unattended for hours at a time.

Timing is crucial for car burglars. They often strike when they believe there’s a lower chance of being caught or witnessed. This could be during the late evening or early morning hours when there are fewer people around. They might also take advantage of busy periods when there’s a lot of foot traffic or distractions, making it easier for them to go unnoticed.

The Disguise:

Car burglars understand the importance of blending in and avoiding suspicion. They don’t want to draw attention to themselves, so they’ll often dress and behave in ways that allow them to blend into their surroundings. They might wear casual clothing, carry a backpack or a messenger bag, and act like an ordinary pedestrian.

To avoid suspicion, car burglars may even pretend to be engaged in legitimate activities. For example, they might loiter near a parking lot, pretending to make a phone call or search for something in their bag, while they scope out potential targets. By appearing inconspicuous and nonchalant, they can increase their chances of going unnoticed.

The Tools of the Trade:

Car burglars often come prepared with specific tools to aid in their criminal activities. These tools allow them to gain quick and easy access to a vehicle or remove valuable items efficiently. Some common tools used by car burglars include slim jims, which can be inserted between the window and the door to manipulate the locking mechanism, and glass breakers, which are small devices designed to shatter windows quickly and quietly.

In addition to these tools, car burglars may also use other improvised items, such as coat hangers or screwdrivers, to force open doors or pry open windows. They are skilled at exploiting any vulnerabilities in a vehicle’s security system to gain entry swiftly. By understanding the tools car burglars employ, we can better comprehend the importance of robust security measures to deter their attempts.

The Role of Technology:

As technology advances, car burglars have also adapted their tactics to take advantage of new vulnerabilities. Modern vehicles with keyless entry systems can be susceptible to relay attacks, where burglars use specialized devices to intercept and amplify the signal between the car key and the vehicle, allowing them to unlock and start the car without physical access to the key itself.

Car burglars may also target vehicles with outdated or easily hackable alarm systems. They can use electronic devices to jam or disable the alarm, making it easier for them to operate undetected. Furthermore, sophisticated burglars may exploit vulnerabilities in connected car systems, gaining unauthorized access to the vehicle’s controls and potentially stealing personal information stored within the car’s infotainment system.

Protecting Your Vehicle and Belongings:

Now that we have a deeper understanding of what car burglars look for, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to protect our vehicles and belongings. Here are some practical tips to enhance the security of your car:

  1. Park in well-lit and populated areas: Opt for parking spaces that are visible to others, reducing the likelihood of being targeted by burglars seeking isolation and darkness.
  2. Lock your doors and roll up windows: Always ensure that your doors are locked, and the windows are fully closed whenever you leave your vehicle, no matter how short the duration.
  3. Keep valuables out of sight: Stow away valuable items, such as purses, electronics, or bags, in the trunk or under a seat before parking your car. If you must leave something in plain sight, cover it with a blanket or jacket to avoid tempting would-be burglars.
  4. Invest in anti-theft devices: Consider installing an alarm system, steering wheel lock, or tracking device to deter car burglars and increase the chances of recovering your vehicle if it’s stolen.
  5. Be mindful of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially when entering or exiting your vehicle. If you notice anything suspicious or unusual, report it to the authorities immediately.
  6. By taking these steps, you can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of car burglary. Remember, prevention is the best defense against car burglars, and it’s crucial to remain vigilant and proactive to protect your vehicle and belongings.


Car burglary is a prevalent crime, and car burglars are often looking for an easy target. By understanding what car burglars look for, we can take steps to protect our vehicles and belongings. Car burglars target isolated areas, unlocked doors, valuables in plain sight, and vulnerable vehicles. They’re motivated by quick and easy access to valuable items, and they often employ specific tools and tactics to carry out their crimes. By taking proactive steps such as parking in well-lit areas, locking doors and windows, and keeping valuables out of sight, we can reduce the likelihood of being targeted by car burglars. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to protecting your vehicle and belongings, and it’s essential to remain vigilant and proactive to stay safe.

What do Car Burglars look for?
Scroll to top