Auto Theft Prevention-Keep Thieves Driving By

Auto theft is big business!  According to the FBI, as the overall theft rate across the USA declines, auto theft continues to grow.  

What's it all about?

It’s about parts.  An experienced car thief can steal your car in less than a minute. Many crude thieves simply smash the drivers’ window. Most cars are stolen for the value of their parts. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cause economic hardship for victims and increase everyone's insurance premiums.

Where are the Hot Auto Theft Locations? 

Motor vehicles are stolen from shopping malls, streets, driveways, parking lots, garages, and car dealerships. Automobile theft seems to occur with greater frequency where large groups of cars are parked together for extended periods like at airports, shopping centers, colleges, sporting events, fairgrounds, movie complexes, and large apartment complexes.

When are the Hot Times for Theft?

Auto theft occurs at different times of the day, depending on the setting.

  • Car thefts at shopping centers occur mostly during business hours when vehicles are sometimes left unattended for hours in parking lots.
  • Regional shopping centers are like a smorgasbord, with a lot of choices in vehicle model/make/color and constantly changing inventory.
  • Shopping center employee vehicles are especially at risk due to the length of time the car is exposed and the typical mall policy of requiring retail employees to park in a cluster at the perimeter of the lot.. 
  • Large apartment complexes experience more vehicle thefts during the night after residents return home from work and settle in for the evening.

What to do if your car is stolen?

Inform your local police department immediately!  Law enforcement, admittedly, has been ineffective in preventing auto theft.  Why, partly because auto theft is not reported sometimes for hours or days after the crime. There are usually no suspects, descriptions, eyewitnesses, or other helpful leads to investigate. If the stolen vehicle is not recovered within a few days the chances are slim that the vehicle will be found intact.

Don’t Become a Victim: Follow these helpful prevention tips to keep the thieves driving by:

  • Neverleave your car running and unattended, even to dash into a business.
  • Install a mechanical device that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake pedal to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. Commonly called clubs, collars, or J-bars, these devices can act as highly visible physical deterrents if installed properly.
    • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Investigate the purchase of an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home
    • If you park in a fee garage, take the pay-ticket with you. It's the thief's ticket out of the garage, too.
    • Always park in a high-traffic, well-lit area, if possible. If you use valet parking, leave just the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no identifying information is attached to the key. Do the same when you take your car in for repairs
    • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight.
  • Carry your drivers’ license, registration, and insurance card with you. Don't leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.
  • Copy your license plate and vehicle identification (VIN) numbers and keep in a safe place, just in case.