Police: How to Protect Your Car's Exterior Parts from Thieves

License plates, registration stickers and other exterior parts are as sought after by thieves as items on the inside of a car, South Pasadena Police say.

In its January newsletter, South Pasadena Police warned residents that as much as thieves seek to swipe items on the inside of your car, they're just as inclined to rip off its exterior parts.

Most auto burglaries can be prevented by locking doors and not leaving items in plain sight, the newsletter points out. However, license plates, registration tabs, catalytic converters, tailgates from pickup trucks, bicycle racks and even car batteries are often targeted from the exterior of the vehicle.

License plates are stolen so they can be placed on other cars to commit crimes. Registration tabs are stolen to avoid paying yearly reg- istration fees. Catalytic converters are stolen for the precious metals inside of them. These metals are often sold as scrap metals. Car parts such as tailgates and bicycle racks are expensive items to replace.

Because all of these parts are on the outside of the vehicle, it is difficult to secure them. So, here are some tips to remember:

Use bolts instead of screws to secure your license plates.

Make several cuts in your registration tabs to prevent the removal in one piece.

Tailgates can be secured with aftermarket locks.

Always turn your vehicle wheels to the curb, to prevent the theft of your tires.

Park in well-lit areas at night.

 Periodically, examine your vehicle to make sure your plates, tabs, catalytic converters, etc. are in tact.

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