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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

GPS And Road Trip Safety Tips

16 Feb 2009

During my occasional check of new urban legends on, I came across this interesting tidbit about thieves who break into cars, steal the GPS, find the home address, then go and loot the place.  Please read the article for more accurate information.

The folks at Snopes make some good points: Why would a thief go to all the trouble of going to rob a house that may not be empty or might be guarded by an alarm system or dogs when they could just loot the car?  It’s a lot less hassle.

Be that as it may, thieves do work in mysterious ways.  And if you do use a GPS or online mapping service, we have provided some tips.  We have also included some basic road trip/traveling tips as well.  We know our list is incomplete; that’s the idea.  We want our readers to add on as you see fit.

GPS/Online Mapping Service Tips
NOTE: In terms of online mapping, this assumes you planned your route at home or the office, then printed the directions and brought them with you in the car.

1) For directions, don’t use your home address as your starting address.  Use a fake address or that of a nearby business.  After all, the first steps in these directions often only tell you how to get to the main road.  If you need directions to the main road from where you live, you should probably just stay home.

The logic behind this, paranoid as it is, is that if someone breaks into your car, they could find the directions with your home address.  One quick look around the car will tell any thief how many people are traveling and who they are.  Now they know where you live AND that your house is empty.  Better use a fake address, just to be safe.

2) Don’t stick your GPS to your windshield.  I’ve recently read police reports that say thieves walk around parking lots and decks looking for suction cup marks on windshields, which often serve as an indication that a GPS device is in the automobile.  You’re better off mounting it somewhere else, just using Velcro®,  leaving it in the center console, even when in use, or finding another way to mount it to your dash.

3) Clear the cache on your GPS.  The same logic applies from #1.

4) Don’t list your home address on your GPS as “Home,” “Location #1,” “Base camp,” etcetera.  If a thief does get your GPS, it’s better to leave them confused and have them give up than tell them exactly where you live.  Remember, they might not rob you that day; they may wait until they know the house is empty.

Various other road trip safety tips

1) Remove all mail from your automobile.  This is the same logic as from #1, but this included magazines, bills and junk mail.  If you’re going on a road trip and want to read a magazine, remove the address label.  If you can’t, mark over it with a black marker.

2) Don’t have your home address on your luggage tags.  Instead, use your work address, a PO Box or just your E-mail address or your mobile phone number.

3) Stop your mail and newspapers before you travel.  It’s been said a million times before, but it bears repeating.  I’m amazed at how often, even in my own neighborhood, I see piles of newspapers and overstuffed mailboxes, usually in the summer months.  If a thief saw that, they would have found their next target.  Also, bring in the trash can.

4) Tell a family member, neighbor or trusted friend you’re leaving town.  You may also want to notify the police, just to be safe.  The more eyes you have on your place, the better.

That’s all we have.  What do you have?  Share with us and help your fellow travelers.

© 2009

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