An Unauthorized Entry into Motor Vehicle (UEMV) is when someone enters your car or truck to steal things out of it. Happens at least once a month in our neighborhood. Sometimes people don't even report it (although they should). Happens more often to cars parked in shopping center parking lots and at popular tourist sites.
Who breaks Into cars, why, and how?
Sometimes kids, entering un-locked cars, taking whatever they can find.
Sometimes it's semi-professional thieves who work either alone or with a partner (acting as a "getaway driver") breaking into cars (usually, for money to buy drugs).
Experienced thieves can quickly get into most locked cars in a few seconds. A couple of years ago, several cars on my street were broken into within just a few minutes one night. The thieves used "slim jims" -- a simple strip of metal (locksmiths and car repair folks legally use them all the time). The thieves broke into (and took things out of) more than dozen cars along the street before triggering an alarm, and drove away quickly before anyone saw them.
What to do after your car has been broken into?
Call 911. Please. Some people don't bother. But if happened to you, it may be happening to others around the neighborhood; it's important to report every UEMV to police.
If anything valuable is taken, call your insurance company as well; your loss may well be covered. Your auto policy's "comprehensive" coverage should pay for the loss anything "permanently attached" to your car (such as stereos or in-dash GPS systems) as well as for shattered windows, broken locks and other damage. And even if your auto policy doesn't cover loose items from inside your car, your homeowners or renters insurance might (after whatever deductible your policy has).
Yes, we have had kids (as young as intermediate school age) wandering around late (with a backpacks), getting into unlocked cars. The good news: it's easy to discourage them. Our city has a 10:00pm curfew law for minors (17 or younger). If you see a kid wandering around after 10:00pm, just call 911… and let them explain what they're doing to the police and their parents.
To help prevent anyone from breaking into your car or truck:
- Always lock your car at night; alarm it if you can
- Keep your car in your carport (rather than on the street)
- Never leave valuables in your car
[The only valuable thing my across-the street neighbor had in his car was his after-market stereo system, which was the only thing the thieves took. A different neighbor didn't think he had anything valuable in his car... but he'd left his house key in the car, which thieves took and used the following night to burglarize his house.]