There's been no shortage of news lately about cars being broken into, or worse, being stolen altogether lately across the state. Several people on social media have been discussing how they never thought it would happen to them, only to come outside to get into their car for work or school one morning to discover their car unlocked and their valuables missing from inside.

One social media user said that it was apparent the thief or thieves tried to steal some parts from the car itself, but were unsuccessful and instead made off with their hand sanitizer and their hat. I can't imagine what a hat and sanitizer would be worth to someone, but it underscores the point: sometimes it's just the act of breaking in and stealing something - anything - they can. More often than not, they don't know what they can steal until they get into your car. So it's up to you to make sure they can't get anything valuable.

Here's some tips to prevent thieves from breaking into your car and making off with anything important, courtesy of the insurance company, Allstate.

1.  Lock your doors

This one seems obvious, but it's not always easy to remember. I hate to say it, but my wife or I are guilty of this at least three days a week. Sometimes you get home from the grocery store, for example, and are so focused on getting groceries out of the car that by the time your hands are loaded, you forget the obvious step: hit the lock button on your key fob as you walk away.

2. Remove your keys from the vehicle

We've all left the car running for one reason or another while we duck into the gas station or throw away that coffee cup real quick. The number of times someone does this and someone else jumps in the car and takes off is pretty crazy, so you should never do it.

3. Don't leave a spare key in or around your vehicle

Tempting as it may be to use a magnet key in the wheel well or under a bumper somewhere, this isn't exactly a secret to would-be thieves and leaves them easy access to your vehicle, or worse, gives them the tools to take it.

4. Close your windows when you leave your car

Sure, it's nice to avoid a hot, stuffy car on a summer day but it doesn't take much space to get a hand in a window and get a car unlocked. Don't leave any opportunities for thieves to get their hands in your windows. Make sure you roll them up!

5. Park in well lit areas at night

Obviously this isn't always possible, but when you can, park by a light in your driveway or under a street light. The cloak of darkness is a real thing when it comes to breaking into vehicles!

6. Install an alarm

Sure, most newer vehicles come with a break-in alarm factory installed. Who hasn't hit the panic button on their key fob accidentally or somehow set it off when you get into the car in a crowded parking lot? But if you don't have one, or want an added layer of security, consider an add-on alarm for your vehicle.

7. Install a vehicle immobilizer system

Know how your push button car won't start when you accidentally leave your smart key on the kitchen counter as you run out to the driveway in a rush? Basically that. If you don't have the key, you can't start the car. You can't even hotwire it in most cases.

8. Install a tracking system

Like "find my iPhone" but for your car instead. Self explanatory why this is a good idea!

9. Don't leave valuables in your car

This is the most understated point of all. If you don't want things stolen, don't leave them in your car. Don't leave any reasons for someone to want to break into your car - like a laptop on your passenger's seat, for example. One social media user reported his fishing pole was stolen. Even worse, someone reported their firearm was stolen from their locked car. This is obviously bad. Do not leave unlocked firearms anywhere, let alone in your car where someone can steal it.

10. Be alert.

Always keep an eye on your vehicle and your belongings in it, and make sure if something looks a little sketchy where you're going to park, just don't park there. Additionally, always double check that your windows are closed and your car is locked before you leave it unattended.

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