In March this year, a dude by the name of James Pagkalinawan shared a video that showed how a group of thieves broke into his car, which was parked at a seemingly safe gasoline station on Julia Vargas, and took his valuables while he was in the bathroom.
The thieves, who used a van to hide the crime from public view, pulled off the heist in less than two minutes. With the summer season in full swing, a lot of motorists are bound for long trips (and stopovers), making this nefarious scheme a cause for concern.
On that note, here are some tips to stay safe and prevent theft during out-of-town trips:
1. Before you park your car, always check for suspicious-looking vehicles and individuals, and never ever leave your valuables in the cabin. If you really have to leave your stuff in the car, put it in the trunk.
2. Thieves can’t steal what they can’t see, so if you have the budget for it, have your car’s windows tinted. The newly launched 3M Auto Security Tint, for example, can block up to 95% of the cabin's visibility from the outside. Think of it as your car’s double protection against crime and the sun. It’s also thicker than the usual tint, so when a thief hits your car, the glass won’t break easily. Or if the glass does break, the tint will hold the pieces together, preventing injuries.
3. A neat car is less likely to get robbed, so keep your car’s cabin as bare as possible. A car that’s filled with jackets or towels that appear to be covering valuables tends to attract more interest. If a thief sees nothing but interior upholstery, he is less likely to be curious about what’s inside.
4. If you’re traveling with someone, see to it that one of you stays inside the vehicle when the other goes for a bathroom break. As James himself has painfully discovered, a mere two minutes can make all the difference, so take turns if you must.
5. More important, load and hide your belongings before you reach your destination. By the time you pull over, everything you plan to leave in the car should already be concealed. There’s no point hiding your valuables if thieves already know what you're trying to keep out of sight and where you've kept them.
Spread the word. We’re sure you have friends and loved ones who are driving out of town in the coming weeks.