July has been designated Vehicle Theft Prevention Month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even with the latest technologies, car theft remains a persistent threat, leaving many drivers shocked when they find their vehicle broken into or missing. Stolen vehicles amounted to close to $6 billion in 2017, according to the NHTSA, with a motor vehicle being stolen every 40.9 seconds in the U.S. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Records show that more than 773,000 motor vehicles were taken that year.
The top vehicles to steal include popular models like the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Ford F150, and Nissan Altima. Thieves are not always looking for the whole car. Oftentimes, they break in to obtain vehicle/auto parts such as audio and navigation systems, air bags, and fenders, which are usually not recovered.
The Pros Are Out There
Most car thieves are seasoned professionals. They often target high-performance cars or any popular model with interchangeable parts. After the crime, cars may be disassembled to sell their parts. Then again, some thieves are joy riders seeking the thrill of stealing a luxury car. The “bump-and-rob” method, or carjacking, is another threat; a thief may rear-end a driver and steal the car after they get out to check for damage.
5 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Vehicle Theft
You can protect your vehicle in the following ways:
1. Install Anti-Theft Technology: According to the NHTSA, a loud horn alarm is an effective deterrent. The presence of steering-wheel locks, flashing lights, and other visible features can also reduce or avoid vehicle theft. A vehicle immobilizer prevents anyone from bypassing the ignition system, while electronic transmitters can enable police and other authorities to find a stolen vehicle using GPS tracking, improving the odds of recovery.
2. Don’t Ever Leave Valuables in Plain Sight: A visible purse or cell phone is an attractive lure to a thief. But thieves also know people leave valuables in their trunks and scout out parking lots for this reason. They’ll break in as soon as you stow away that new flatscreen TV and leave.
3. Take Your Keys with You: If you leave your keys in the ignition, a thief just needs to break a window to get started, and don’t keep a spare key near your car. Never leave your car running, even for a quick store run; it’s becomes an easy target to steal.
4. Remember to Close/Lock Car Windows and Doors: A locked door means it takes longer to break in, and keeping your windows closed means a thief can’t reach in to access your vehicle.
5. Park in a Well-Lit Area: Thieves don’t like to be seen, so park under a light or where there’s a lot of traffic. It also makes it easier to see your surroundings and assess your safety.
What You Should Do If Your Car is Stolen
If you are the victim of car theft despite taking these precautionary measures, contact the police immediately. Then contact your insurance company and provide the case number and/or police report when filing your claim. Also, provide the make, model, and color as well as the license plate and vehicle identification numbers, which you should have copied for safe keeping just in case.
If you’re shopping for a vehicle this July, CarWorld has many used cars in stock. We can help you select from our extensive inventory and approve you quickly for financing. In addition, we’re taking steps to protect your safety during the coronavirus pandemic, including cleaning our facilities thoroughly, providing sanitizing gel and foam stations, and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Visit our Hawthorne dealership today or call 833-219-9951 to ask any questions you may have.