Is locking your car doors pointless?

Poll in a moment.

I’m going with no because if my car is stolen or items stolen out of it while it’s unlocked my insurance isn’t valid (or at the very least is a pain in the butt.

Also with the door unlocked someone might sacrifice a minion to open the door and be attacked by my large bloodthirsty dog and thus leave the car completely unprotected.

No. Car burglary is generally a crime of opportunity, so the easier you make it the bigger target you are.

“Pointless” is too strong a word, but I’ve seen too many windows broken out to think of locking my car doors as a good idea. YMMV.

No, because given the option of stealing a locked car or an unlocked car thieves will go for the unlocked one. There’s no point in making yours the car they go for. And of course your insurance company will screw you for not locking the car.

I voted no because it is much more conspicuous to break a window, than just open a door.

If a thief sees something in the backseat that he wants he can either break a window and risk drawing attention to himself, or just open the door and pretend the car is his.
They can take as long as they want rooting through a vehicle when there isn’t broken glass everywhere.

I lock my car doors, but I also don’t leave anything that looks valuable on the seats if I can possibly avoid it–and I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t be able to avoid it.

A lesson I learned the hard way when I was younger:

If you drive a POS car and have nothing in the car worth stealing; leave the doors unlocked!

I had some jack ass smash out my window to get inside my car. Once they got inside, they didn’t steal anything because there wasn’t shit in there worth stealing. Had I left my doors unlocked I wouldn’t of had to pay to replace my window.

Not all car thieves, nor thefts from cars, are equal.

I don’t have problems with the assertion that there are car thieves who can get into and start any car they like. I do not, however believe that they’re the only threat to your car, or your possessions inside your car.

Locking your car doors acts as a deterrent to the stupid neighborhood kids who pull radios from cars with unlocked doors, for example. The name of the game isn’t risk elimination, it’s risk reduction.

Now THAT’S a good argument. I will of course be stealing it.

I used to drive Jeep Wrangler soft tops. Locking the doors just meant someone who wanted in would have to cut the top with a knife.

I’ve only had stuff stolen from my car ONCE. This happened when one of my passengers failed to lock the door behind her.

The lock won’t keep out a working thief, but it will keep out a passing asshole who thinks it’s funny to lift a bathing suit or grab change or root through the glove compartment for who knows what. I’ve had all three happen. I remember to lock, now. Glove compartment guy might have just had fun dumping things around.

It will also keep confused drunks from sleeping in your back seat, which happened to a friend of mine.

That takes me back. Ever had a POS that strangers couldn’t drive because of its little ideosyncracies? I suppose it would have been possible for someone to steal the battery, but I’m not sure if that would have made the thing harder to start. Or that they’d be able to start a car with the battery. I suppose I’d have been pissed if they’d taken the jumper cables, but they were locked in the trunk.

I had a great set of jumper cables. Someone gave me them for Christmas. Because they had ridden in my car.

We have had have neighborhood kids who would go around at night and try to open car doors. If they found doors that would open, they’d smash eggs inside.

If you are leaving your vehicle it should be locked. Any passing thief that sees an unlocked vehicle will want to check under the seats and glove-box. I have some tools of value in the cab of my truck. I don’t need that aggravation.

I’m not a key candidate for theft probably, but even theft is deterred somewhat. Thieves don’t like to draw attention. And if your vehicle does get stolen, a broken window attracts attention at the time and while getting away. A broken side window is not a big deal compared to the rest of the damage likely to be suffered if it’s stolen.

My Wrangler had a rear window made of flexible plastic and secured by a zipper. People told me I should still lock the doors. To stop all the would-be thieves not clever enough to operate a zipper, no doubt.

This was exactly what I was going to say. Locks are really effective against bored kids.

I’m leaning towards

No, for a reason you didn’t name.

First, the ethical reason: You’re not supposed to tempt other people. Leaving your car doors unlocked tempts people into a lapse of judgment, esp. youngsters who don’t have the knowledge to break into a locked car.

Second, the legal and financial reason: insurance won’t pay anything if you don’t even take the basic precaution of locking your car. And the court will hold you partly responsible if anything happens (a teen takes your car for a joyride and crashes - why did you leave the car unlocked, tempting the kid?)

As for “locking will slow the thieves down” and “security system needs it” - depends on the location and the type of car. Anybody in the security business, whether it’s protecting people, homes, or cars, knows that there is no 100% safety. Park a Mercedes in Eastern Europe, and it will be stolen, even with good security. Most security works on the St. Florians principle: make it too difficult for the thieves worth the bother so they go and steal something less secured. But also, send the message to casul, non-professional thieves “Don’t steal this”. If you leave the car unlocked, people may interpret this as “you aren’t interested in it, so I can take it”.

People in my neighborhood complain from time to time about things being stolen from their unlocked cars, but we don’t ever seem to have locked cars broken into. We all suspect bored teens up to no good. They steal iPods, toll change, books.

Are you my neighbour? If we leave our cars unlocked, it will get rifled once in a while and if there is anything of value, it gets taken.

Never had a window smashed out with it locked.