Although some car thieves are seemingly unstoppable pros, the vast majority are bungling opportunists just looking for an easy target for the chop shop or, easier yet, the pawn shop.

To lessen the chances you'll be targeted by thieves, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends using a layered approach, with the first layer not costing anything extra:

  • Park in a well-lit, high-visibility area.
  • Keep packages and personal items in the trunk. Keeping a tidy is par for the course. And just in case someone's watching, move the items to the trunk before you arrive at your destination.
  • Make sure the vehicle is locked. You laugh, but the lowest-level thieves simply look for unlocked vehicles with items inside.
  • Close the windows completely. If a window is down, it might as well be unlocked.

Additional layers, including an audible or visual alarm, an immobilizer, and a tracking system, will together deter all but the most determined thieves.

The older cars that students are perhaps more likely to have are probably missing some or all of these features, so minding the basics is especially important.

Have a laugh with the clip below, then make sure you're doing all you can to keep those slightly less inept thieves at bay—which might just mean rolling up the windows, locking the doors, and hiding the goods.

[NICB; Jalopnik]