Tips to keep your car safe

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department offers these tips to keep your car out of the hands of thieves:

Anti-theft devices: Consider installing an alarm system or using a steering wheel lock such as the Club.

Key: Never hide a spare anywhere on your vehicle.

Turn it off: Never leave your vehicle running, even if you will be gone only for a minute.

Go for the lights: Park in well-lit areas.

Look for a crowd: Park in attended or busy lots.

Lock everything: Use your garage, and lock your vehicle and all garage doors.

Garage door opener: Keep it with you.

Age doesn't matter: Do not become complacent because you drive an older vehicle. Older cars can be resold quickly or stripped for parts.

Hide your stuff: Put all packages and personal items out of sight, such as locking them in the trunk or covering them with a blanket.

Documents: Do not leave your original registration or title in your car.

VIN: Have your vehicle identification number etched on your windows. That means a thief would have to switch the glass to get rid of all the VIN markings.