Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Should I leave my car unlock next year? VOTE!

  1. YES - Leave it unlocked

    5 vote(s)
  2. NO - Lock it up

    22 vote(s)
  1. Aug 8, 2009 #1
    I am getting ready to move into an appartment on campus. This will be my first year on my own, the previous years I was living with family.

    My mother told me I should keep nothing in my car and leave it unlocked, so that if someone does break into my car, there is nothing to steal and nothing is damaged trying to get in.

    My unlce told me however, that a homeless man had slept in one of his roomates car and basically ruined it (could not get the smell out :eek: ).

    So what do you think? I think they both have excellent points. My appartment has off street parking, but it is pretty close to a bar parking lot.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2009 #2
    Leaving your car unlocked would be an exercise in stupidity.

    If you need to improve the stupidity of your brain, then go for it!

    If your car is empty and it's a crap car (like most college students) then nobody will have any incentive to break in. Don't GIVE them any.
  4. Aug 8, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Leaving the car empty and open was company policy where my step-dad used to work. It was effective, I guess.

    You could switch to a car that would not be appealing to a homeless person...maybe a very, very small one, or...?

    But before making this decision, maybe you could contact the college campus police department to see what they recommend.
  5. Aug 8, 2009 #4

    You should have gone to Japan for your studies. In Japan people do not lock their cars or homes, there are no burglars there.
  6. Aug 8, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  7. Aug 8, 2009 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Lock it. Do you have a radio? Gone. Some thieves will strip everything they can out of the car. An unlocked car is an invitation to vandalism.
  8. Aug 8, 2009 #7
    Lock it!


  9. Aug 8, 2009 #8
    When I got my first apartment in Tokyo, my friend's mother told me to make sure I kept the place locked when not at home because burglars come in and out of the houses like cockroaches in that neighborhood. I asked my friend what she could have meant since I 'knew' that Japan was free of such doings. He told me that there had been a burglary in the neighborhood twenty years earlier and his mother had never gotten over it. Lock the car.
  10. Aug 8, 2009 #9
    I know people who do not lock their vehicles and just keep nothing valuable in their cars... most times kids come and just steal the change nothing much maybe a few dollars. However I don't think your insurance will cover you if you leave your vehicle unlocked and unattended in a parking lot...
  11. Aug 8, 2009 #10
    My employer
    -bought a new expensive car
    -and used to keep it unlocked

    and one day someone stole it... Then,

    -he bought a cheap used car
    -and keeps it locked
  12. Aug 8, 2009 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Yes.. but please PM me your address :uhh:
  13. Aug 8, 2009 #12
    Is a cheap car alarm out of the question? Have you spoken to the police that patrol the campus?

    Buy a pit bull, stick him in the car, and leave the window down a bit for air. :biggrin:
  14. Aug 8, 2009 #13
  15. Aug 8, 2009 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Well, here is something to consider. Would you always remember never to leave anything in the car? Because if you forget and leave something in it from time to time, you could be in trouble.

    I've always been in the habit of locking my car. AND I have two spare car keys, one in my wallet and one in a drawer at home. Once in a while I lock my keys in the car, and that spare wallet key is a lifesaver.

    Good luck :smile:
  16. Aug 8, 2009 #15
    You realise that not taking every reasonable precaution (i.e. locking it) voids pretty much every insurance policy.

    So if they nick something (radio etc) you have no comeback, if they nick the car and the police find it and no sign of damage, then you lose both your car and policy.

    EDIT: You could always do what one of my friends did. He bought a proper shed (honestly it looked like it should have been scrapped 10 years earlier) and got so sick of it he left it open, keys inside, with a note saying 'please steal me'.

    Sadly noone did.
  17. Aug 8, 2009 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    (Playing devil's advocate here...:devil:)

    Given that there is *simply a plate of glass* between a thief and his/her desires, locking the car simply adds the cost of a window to the loss.
  18. Aug 8, 2009 #17


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor



  19. Aug 8, 2009 #18
    Perhaps I should have added that its not legal advice. I'm from the UK, and over here there is always a clause that you need to do everything you can to secure your property. Thats why premiums are typically lowered if you fit a decent alarm/immobiliser etc.

    It also ways that its claimed "get filed under the homeowner's policy", does that mean home contents insurance extends to the car. Or is it just referring to the person.
  20. Aug 8, 2009 #19


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Locking is not an option; it's the only logical approach. Even if you have nothing to steal within the car, leaving it unlocked just makes it that much easier to steal the car itself. It might be almost worthless as a vehicle, but it brings in significant bucks as scrap metal.
    My buddy here pulled off an awesome coupe a few years ago. He had a truck that wasn't particularly hard to break into, so there wasn't too much point in going into elaborate security measures. The main target at the time was radios/CD players. He removed the unit, ground the edges of the mounting hole to razor sharpness, and reinstalled the CD/radio. A couple of days later, he returned to his truck to find the entire interior sprayed with blood and his radio lying on the floor. :biggrin:
  21. Aug 8, 2009 #20
    One relevant hypothetical situation:
    If government puts 90% tax on the consumers but returns all the money back, would there be any difference in the consumer demand?
  22. Aug 8, 2009 #21


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Yes, it means thefts from a vehicle are covered under the home contents insurance. This is the same in the UK: goods stolen from a secured place are generally covered under the home contents insurance unless they are of considerable value. Though, I don't believe the link above. I can't see an insurance company paying out if you leave your car open.
  23. Aug 8, 2009 #22


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    and this was worth it ...how?
  24. Aug 8, 2009 #23


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It wouldn't be so fun to find out that the thief had been an HIV-positive junkie trying to feed his habit with petty theft. Especially if your friend nicked his fingers during the re-install.
  25. Aug 8, 2009 #24


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Are you kidding? Not only did it save his radio, it gave the guy serious second thoughts about breaking into people's vehicles, it put the word on the street to not touch my friend's stuff, and it gave far more DNA evidence than was necessary to nail the guy's *** to the wall for forcible entry and attempted theft.

    edit: (Hey! The newest Safari download renewed my ability to edit!)
    Just caught your post after mine, Turbo. My buddy is a Fire Captain and EMS worker. He doesn't take any chances with stray blood.
  26. Aug 8, 2009 #25
    I have family in the insurance business. Was at their house on the weekend and this actually came up in a discussion. She said that the car-insurance company will not pay out if you leave your vehicle unlocked. Of course they have to find out that itw as unlocked in the first place. Why risk it though, with most cars all it takes is the click of a small button.... even the older vehicles ooooooo wow you have to turn a key... I don't see how it makes any sense at all to leave it unlocked while you are somewheres other than your home where it could be in your garage
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook