I had a recent conversation with my friend Jim who used to work for a moving company in Illinois. While he did only local moves for this company, he has also moved several family members across the country. The stories he’s obtained from moving short and long distances are pretty humorous, but those can be told at another time and place.
However, one particular story has stuck with me, during which his sister’s TV was stolen from her car while moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles. This story has served as a catalyst for me to pass along some wisdom and tips that will help you minimize the chances of theft during your move.
1. Lock your doors and roll up your windows. This should possibly go without saying, but there are times when it’s easy to forget. For instance, it may only take a couple minutes for you to hop out of your car or truck and refuel; however, it also takes even less time for someone to grab your purse or other items as you swipe your card, hit the credit option, choose the type of fuel you want, etc. It may also be tempting to leave your windows cracked if the weather is hot, however this leaves your car or truck open to theft.
2. Keep valuables out of site. Keep things covered and hidden as much as possible. One thing I had never considered was the value of prescription drugs. Apparently these are a hot commodity for thieves, so keep those out of site along with mp3 players, laptops, cell phones and the like.
3. Stop as little as possible. While travelling across the country, stopping to sleep, refuel and eat is unavoidable, but keep in mind that the more you stop, the higher your chances are of having items stolen.
4. Use common sense and trust your instincts. Choose well-lit areas if you have to park your car somewhere – whether to rest or eat. If the area is poorly-lit, there are not many people around, or you’re feeling uneasy about the surroundings, pick a different location.
5. Service your car or truck before packing and heading out. Though life is commonly hectic before a big move, it pays to take care of your car beforehand as it will be taking on the extra weight of being loaded down. The last thing you want is to break down alongside the road with all your belongings. Most towing companies will not tow or change a tire on a vehicle that is loaded for a move. So you would either need to get another vehicle out there to switch all the belongings, leave your car there while you go and get a vehicle, or unload all your belongings right there. All three choices are my definition of a nightmare and could easily lead to theft!
6. ID Theft. This is another thing that hadn’t crossed my mind prior to several conversations with those who have seen the worst. I had always considered Identity Theft to be more of a danger with credit cards and online spending. However, apparently ID thieves also watch people preparing to move because people are going through files and tossing old mail, statements, and even junk mail offers. Thieves waiting for the lucky break of finding partial credit card numbers or bank account numbers. As you pack and clean, be mindful of what you’re tossing out. Make sure anything important is completely shredded.
While there is nothing you can do to prevent all mishaps during a move, there are definitely steps you can take to minimize the possibility. By following the tips listed above, you will be on your way to creating a safe and happy moving experience.