How to key a car without getting caught

You can key a car without getting caught but just don’t get caught. You probably think that some motorists who park on the sidewalk or ignore notes probably deserve the punishment. Even though some car owners prioritize themselves over pedestrians, it does not make it fair game to key or scratch their vehicle with a key.

How to key a car without getting caught

It’s simpler than you think: just walk up to the car and start keying.


1. Get a key you no longer need

Your first step is to get a key you no longer need. It can be any random key that will fit into your hand. Do note that keying is an act of vandalism in any state and is not advisable, irrespective of what the vehicle owner may have done. It’s usually best to take legal action against the person rather than take the law upon yourself.

2. Look out for cameras

You want to look out for visible cameras. Usually, there may be cameras mounted on nearby buildings, so you want to avoid those cameras if you see one. It also helps to look out for dash cams and try to avoid contact.


You could use a camera detector app. You can install apps that use your phone’s camera to find hidden cameras. Such an app works by looking for infrared light emitted by most cameras. All in all, just avoid the camera.

3. Key

Get closer to the car and make sure nobody is watching. Just begin the car keying process. You’ll have to keep going and not look back. If you get caught, you may be dealt with aggressively, so avoid keying in the first place because it is evil.

Note: Most reported keying cases take place on rainy evenings or nights.

Do the police investigate keyed cars?

Generally, police investigate keyed cars but only if there is sufficient information and evidence. If the car owner contacts the police because their car has been vandalized, the police will typically inspect the damage, take photographs, gather information from them, and question their neighbors to see if they witnessed any suspicious activity.


The dispatched office may invest just about 20 minutes into this case investigating any leads and checking records for similar cases of ruined car paint in that area. However, the keying likely took place at a rainy 5 pm while the vehicle was parked. The damage was noticed the next morning and no one saw anything in between. It’s also likely that the neighbors did not see anything but may have heard a dog barking at 3 am.

With the limited information, the officer is lost about where to go and there is nobody else to ask. So, the police will write a brief note about the vandalism, which the car owner can request a copy from the admin to send with their claim to their insurance provider.

It seems depressing and boring, right? Sure, it is, indeed. However, if a police officer finds a line of inquiry, they will follow it to arrest the vandal. This is the reality and not a Hollywood illusion.

Does keying a car set off the alarm?

Keying a car, or scratching it with a key, can damage the paint and may set off the alarm if there is any equipped and activated. However, it is not guaranteed that keying a car will set off the alarm.

It generally depends on the specific car and alarm system. Most security alarm systems require a direct impact or knock to trigger the alarm. A car owner who wants to deter people from approaching their car will use a proximity sensor that can emit a warning chirp when anyone comes near the vehicle and will trigger a full alarm. However, proximity sensors may require adjustments for weather changes, as even the density of the air can affect their sensitivity.

If not properly adjusted, proximity sensors may not work properly or even trigger false alarms from nearby birds.

Can you go to jail for keying a car?

Keying a car is a crime considered vandalism. Depending on your jurisdiction and the severity of the damage, you could be charged with criminal mischief or destruction of property. These charges may carry fines and/or jail time. Moreover, the victim of your crime can press civil charges for the cost of repairing the damage against you.

As mentioned earlier, no matter what someone may have done to you, try to avoid keying their car—it’s criminal.

In Massachusetts, you could be found guilty of defacing real or personal property if you intentionally, willfully, and maliciously or wantonly mark, scratch, etch, mars, deface or destroy someone’s personal property. Possible punishment can be up to 3 years in prison or up to 2 years in a house of correction and a fine of $1,500 or three times the value of the property damaged. If you’re convicted, you’ll also have your driver’s license suspended for one year, per FindLaw.

Uhm… before you go, take a watch at how a vandal was dealt with for keying someone’s car

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