What To Do When Your Car is Broken Into
Updated: Oct 14
Your car was broken into, and you’re severely traumatized. Now what?
Once you’re past the initial shock, the next question is - how do you keep that from happening again?
Take it from your local Portland locksmith: if someone has broken into your home or vehicle, the first step is to notify the local authorities. You should also check and see if any security cameras caught the break-in, to identify who caused the damage.
Next is where we come in. After notifying the local authorities, you should call a local Portland locksmith to make a replacement car key, repair your car door locks and ignition or make sure a stolen key no longer works on your vehicle. Customers who have fallen victim to car theft usually have the same burning concerns - to make sure they are safe, and make sure no one can steal their car again. Thankfully, 24 Hour Lock and Key has several services that help with both of those goals.
The first option is to have one of our local Portland or Vancouver locksmiths come right to you and reprogram your keys, if you still have the original keys. Newer cars require transponder keys (keys that need to be programmed to your car’s computer), and our trained locksmiths carry specialized equipment that can reprogram your car keys so that no other keys will work to start the car, which is called an “all keys lost” program.
Customers frequently ask us if transponder keys absolutely have to be programmed, and the answer is yes - they do. And that’s actually a good thing - transponder keys are an additional security measure that car makers added around the year 2000. If you have a transponder key that is not programmed to your car’s computer, it will not start the car. Essentially, the key’s transponder chip talks to the computer in your vehicle and lets the ignition know that it’s ok to start the car. For more car key information read our answers toCommon Questions About Replacement Car Keys.
If your car has been broken into and you have an older vehicle that doesn’t use a transponder key, the second option is to have our professional auto locksmiths simply change out your ignition and get you a brand-new standard metal key. This would mean that you would have a separate key or remote for your doors and trunk than you would for your ignition, but it does mean that any previous keys you had will not work to start the car.
If your car was broken into recently, you’re not alone. According to local and national crime statistics, Portland has one of the highest rates of car theft per capita in the nation. The Portland Police Bureau released data showing there were 7,562 cars stolen in Portland from January 2018 to January 2019,
While those numbers may be slightly lower than recorded break-ins from 2017-2018 (a record-breaking year of 8,073 car thefts in Portland), Portland ranks fifth on the list of most cars stolen per capita. With a 53 percent increase in car theft between 2012 and 2017 (National Insurance Crime Bureau), we’re doing everything we can to make sure that our local Oregon and Washington communities can rest assured that their cars stay right where you left them.
So right about now you’re probably wondering, with break-ins on the rise, how can I stay protected? There are several ways you can help prevent car theft, which we will dive into below.
1. Purchase a car club lock or a steering wheel lock. The club is a long bar that when locked together makes moving the steering wheel practically impossible. The other great thing about having a steering wheel lock or a club is that it can't be removed, because it's too large to be slipped around the wheel.
2. Keep a clean car. Sometimes the easiest solution is also the best one. If it doesn’t look like there’s anything to steal from your car, chances are most people will go right by it. Be careful to avoid leaving money, clothing items or electronics in your vehicle.
3. Install a security or dash camera system. When someone tries to open your door and an alarm starts to go off, most aren’t going to stick around to get caught. Better yet, if they see a sticker advertising that you have an alarm system, most thieves won’t bother with the potential attention. DashCams are another excellent way to record anyone who approaches your car.
4. Park in Well-Lit Areas & Lock Your Doors. Like we mentioned above, sometimes the easiest solutions are also the best. If you can park in a well-lit area where you know there are security cameras, or take the time to make sure that each of your doors are locked, most thieves will be deterred by the additional hurdles to get inside.
Hopefully you are never the victim of a break-in, but in the event that you are, our licensed and bonded Portland locksmiths at 24 Hour Lock and Key have your back. If you have recently experienced a break-in, call us at 971-720-9939 to discuss security solutions.