I've noticed my neighbors posting on NextDoor and Facebook that recently their cars have been broken into, or how they've spotted sketchy people looking for vulnerable cars in West Michigan.

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And it can be kind of scary to think about the fact someone might be targeting your vehicle while you're asleep. West Michigan isn't exactly full of major cities or used to this problem, so it may feel extra hopeless if someone decides to rummage through your car.

Male thief tries to steal a car. Car theft concept

While there is no way to fully prevent someone from breaking into your vehicle, there are a few things experts say you can do to protect your belongs and make it a less desirable target.

Lock your doors and secure your valuables

This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people miss this first basic step.

And here's the part you really need to remember: it doesn't matter how 'safe' your neighborhood generally is, thieves will come from out of your neighborhood to check and see what they can find.

Car Thief Trying Door Handle

Locking your doors isn't the only thing though. Make your car less desirable by making sure there is nothing worth smashing that window to grab. And yes, that means during the day too because not all thieves strike at night.

If you leave your purse, anything from work like a laptop, or even a gun in your car, it could make it worth it for the thief to go to an extreme to break in, so limit the temptation by taking them inside. And yes, your pocket change counts, put it out of sight: better safe than sorry.

Cameras help, but don't rely on them

If you have a camera on your home that is pointed towards your car, that is absolutely a plus when it comes to protecting your property. However, cameras don't PREVENT crime, they just help you find the person who committed the crime.

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We all dream of the day our cameras are smart enough to call the cops if someone weird is in our yard while we're sleeping, but unless you wake up to those notifications, they won't do you much good until the next morning.

Something you can do to give yourself the best odds is to make sure your camera is on, functioning, and has a great battery life to catch anyone trying to be shady outside of your home. If your blink camera is dead, it can't do a lot to help you catch whomever violated your privacy.

Park in a well lit spot, near active areas

The more people and lights are around, the less appealing your vehicle becomes to the average thief.

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If you can park near a street light, porch light, or anything that keeps your car visible during the night, it's almost like having an invisible guard there watching over your stuff. This isn't always a guarantee, but again, it can't hurt.

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If you're able, park in places that people are moving around a lot like a busier street or parking lot versus your own driveway. The more work these jerks have to put into getting into your car, the less likely they are to make you a target.

And last but not least...

Tell people if you see something out of the ordinary

Just because you didn't have your car broken into doesn't mean they didn't make it a few doors down and ruin someone else's evening.


Don't be afraid to share with your neighbors, facebook friends, or anyone else who may have seen this person. If your car is broken into, report it to the police no matter how small of a crime, because sometimes if they are breaking into your car, they're doing it others nearby.

That information can sometimes be what leads police to find the person or people who are doing wrong by their community.

So hopefully these tips can help you protect your belongings to the best of your ability, and of course deter these thieves from this petty, messed up crime spree that is taking advantage of people from all across West Michigan.

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We've all been guilty a time or two of leaving one or more of these items behind in our vehicles. However, thieves love these particular items for the ease of making some major cash down the road. Find out which items make the cut in our list below.

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