It happens so often that people rarely think much of it. It's as much a part of urban life as the sun coming up. Everybody knows someone who has had it happen to them, maybe it's happened to you. Each year, more than a million vehicles are stolen in the United States - about one vehicle every 30 seconds. Why? One reason is that cars are easy to steal. Even an inexperienced car thief can steal certain kinds of cars in about ten to thirty seconds. Most of the time, when a juvenile commits their first felony crime, it is usually the theft of a car or truck. Lastly, and one of the biggest reasons, is that most victims make it easy for the auto thief to steal their car. For example, nationwide investigators find that:
- 31% of all vehicle owners don't lock their doors.
- 80% of the vehicles that were stolen were left unlocked.
- 11% of owners admit that they sometimes leave their keys in the ignition.
- 40% of all car thefts actually had the keys left in the ignition.
Facts About Auto Theft
- The most frequent locations of auto theft are places where there are large numbers of cars parked, like apartments complexes and shopping centers.
- The most frequent times cars are reported stolen was from 10 PM to 7 AM.
- The most common stolen vehicle is General Motors manufactured vehicles.
What You Can Do
No amount of prevention can guarantee that your car will not be stolen, but by taking a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce the opportunity for the possible offender, and of becoming another auto theft victim.
- Close your windows, lock your doors, conceal your valuables and take your keys.
- Use a steering column locking device.
- Engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) on your windshield.
- Use an alarm that shuts off your electrical or fuel systems when activated.
- Park your car in well lighted, well traveled areas.
- Put all packages out of sight (in trunk or compartments).
- Install a hidden ignition switch.
- Park you car in your garage at home.
- Do not store spare keys in or around your vehicle.