Car Rental Theft

Old May 31st, 2006, 09:49 AM
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Car Rental Theft

I am in the process of booking a car rental for our vacation in July around the South of Spain. The contract is fine, but the extra information states, "It is a sad reality that in most holiday resorts in Spain, auto-theft is a day-to-day ocurrance." They recommend not placing bags in full view - obviously! But, is this truly an every day occurrence? Has anyone had their car glass broken, etc.?
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:45 AM
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Theft from cars (rental or otherwise) is fairly common in most any tourist area in Europe. That is why one should never leave anything out in view.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Auto theft is an everyday ocurrance everywhere in the world where autos are common. This is nothing new. Tourists' cars are more likely to be stolen/broken into since they're more likely to contain valuables.

Just be sure never to leave anything visible inside the car and try to park in places that are busy rather than deserted.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:53 AM
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Don't leave guidebooks, maps, etc. out in the open - these will surely mark you as a tourist. Leave a local newspaper in full view instead.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:23 PM
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We had a rental car in Spain for 2 weeks and at times we had to leave our luggage in it while we visited someplace, such as the Alhambra. We experienced no problems whatsoever. Problems can happen anywhere. We just made sure if the luggage had to be left in the car, nothing of any value was in it and it wasn't visible. We also parked the car in a busy area. We didn't bother with the local newspaper thing, and but I did try to keep maps and such out of sight.

Just use your common sense, and never leave anything of value in the car. (same thing as you would do at home!)
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Old May 31st, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Hi
It's not just in Europe that these occur. Why place bags in full view anyway? would you do it in NYC, Boston, or Atlanta? These are US cities I'm familiar with and would not think of leaving bags in full view in these cities either.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 08:24 AM
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Thank you for the newspaper idea... We travel often and understand the not looking like a tourist (albeit hard to do most places as a red head), but in the fine print of the car rental agreement it stated that auto-theft was a day-to-day occurrence in So. Spain. If so, has anyone experienced this specifically and how was it resolved? If you return to where your car should be and find it not there...what next? We obviously would not leave bags in view. But, how easily resolved is this issue of a stolen/broken into rental car?
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:09 AM
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Well we never had a problem with our cars but we did once have occasion to visit a police station in Spain. And they had forms for every possible crime available in multiple languages. I would suggest all they do is have you fill out a form and give you one for your car rental company. (They seem not intereted except in violent crime.)

One of the reasons to use a car rental company with numerous offices - so if there is a problem you can get help in the town you're in.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:18 AM
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I suppose the "local newspaper" idea might work but be aware that it isn't just AMERICAN tourists wo go places and rent cars..there are tourists from all over Europe who come to Spain and they rent cars also...and I they "look like tourists" because they are!

I think the best idea is to keep everything out of sight and, if you can, park the car in such a way that the trunk is difficult to open.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Many thanks...we leave in a couple of weeks. Let's hope I don't need any of the advice provided, but feel more prepared at any rate.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Theft is really common, but following the advice already stated will cut down the chances pretty well.

As you are in Southern Spain, will you be going to Morocco? A lot of people want to do day trips once there and I am telling you right now, DO NOT TAKE THE RENTAL CAR! Even parking it in Algeciras for the ferry is a sketchy idea.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 07:48 AM
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laclaire

No...with all that I have read on this topic we are not going to see Morocco - traveling w/ 12 year old daughter and thought this would just be too much. We'll have plenty of other sites to visit in Spain. Thanks to everyone for their helpful suggestions.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:54 AM
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I would think that crime in Spain is just like crime anywhere else - opportunity. It's going to look pretty obvious if some one is bashing in a car window in the middle of a crowded parking lot, don't ya think? I would think thieves would look for open car windows (or cracked to alleviate built up heat) or doors left unlocked. Stuff like that. Or, better yet, cars left in areas that were in more isolated areas. Just keep that in mind.

As far as the newspaper idea - how is that supposed to work, exactly?? You know, I've never, ever had a random newspaper floating around in my car at any given time. So what...drivers are riding around reading the want ads while stopped at that traffic light? I would expect other types of "clutter" would indicate a "native" - the parking tickets from the ballpark last week, my half-empty water bottle, the empty coffee container from this morning's drive, or the Thomas guide from 2000 that I keep in my car at all times - along with my CD collection. This is just stuff tourists don't have on hand. I don't think a local newspaper randomly thrown in the backseat is going to throw anyone off the scent, personally.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 09:08 AM
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What you described did happen to me, but it wasn't in Spain or even Europe. We were in Vancouver, BC, Canada!! We made the foolish mistake of leaving things visible in the car. It was nothing of any real value, just a sweat jacket, and umbrella, and a road atlas. But this made the theif think we had left other things of value in the car, so he broke the window and took the jacket and the umbrella, but left the road atlas.

My point in telling you this is that it can happen anywhere. Even at home it is my rule never to leave anything visible in the car.

Disclaimer: At the time this happened I was not yet a Fodorite, therefore my foolish mistake s/b excused. Since joining this board, I am now a much smarter traveler.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:05 PM
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P_M: It is not so surprising that you had this problem in Vancouver. Vancouver is a great city but it is also the car-crime capital of Canada. Sure theft can happen anywhere but there are some places where it is very much more likely than in other places.
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