According to the American Crime Prevention Institute, the annual loss from auto theft in the United States is over $4 billion. The Automotive Information Council reports that over 1 million motor vehicles are stolen in the U.S. every year. That is about 1 motor vehicle theft every 31 seconds.
Consider the following prevention tips:
Remove the keys from the vehicle and always lock the doors. Twenty percent of all vehicles stolen have the keys left in them.
If the vehicle is an older model, replace the standard door lock shafts with ones that are tapered.
Don’t leave paper work in the glove box or elsewhere in the vehicle that has your address or personal information about you or others in your family.
If you use self-service to fuel your vehicle, don’t leave your keys in your vehicle when going in to pay. Consider locking it as well to prevent theft of items while you are away.
Don’t hide a spare key somewhere on the outside of the vehicle. These are usually easy to locate.
Periodically check your license plates to make sure they have not been stolen or altered.
Don’t invite a break-in by leaving things in plain sight in the vehicle. If you would not want them stolen, don’t leave them in the vehicle. Remove them or secure them in the trunk.
When possible, park in well lighted, busy areas.
Never leave your vehicle running and unattended in order to allow it to warm up.
If you don’t have the luxury of parking your vehicle in the garage, and must park it in the driveway or on the street in front of the house, be sure to remove the garage door opener. This is a key to your home.
If someone is going to attempt to steal your vehicle, don’t make it easy for them.