The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration marks July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. It is important for car owners to remember to take the right precautions to protect their vehicle from theft.
Motor vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for most of us, and often, an indispensable part of our lives. But what would happen if yours suddenly disappeared? Vehicle theft is a very expensive crime, with the cost of stolen vehicles pegged at more than $5.9 billion.
- Passenger cars make up more than 50% of all stolen motor vehicles.
- Only 59.3% of all stolen motor vehicles are recovered.
- Of all motor vehicles stolen, 74.8% were passenger vehicles.
- A motor vehicle is stolen every 42.2 seconds.
Use common sense when parking and exiting your vehicle
Protect Your Ride
- Take your vehicle's key; do not leave it in or on your vehicle.
- Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
- Park in well-lit areas if possible.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside the vehicle.
There are numerous antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal or easier to trace and recover. Here are how some of them work:
Where's My Ride?
- Audible and Visible Devices: These devices, such as a horn alarm, deter theft by bringing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter a vehicle. Visible devices create a visual threat/warning/deterrence, such as the use of steering-wheel locks, as well as theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching.
- Immobilizing-Type Devices: These prevent thieves from bypassing a vehicle’s ignition system and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some incorporate computer chips in ignition keys or disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.
- Vehicle Recovery Systems: These devices use electronic transmission technology that help law enforcement reveal the location of stolen vehicles—and possibly catch the thief in the act.
If you are a victim of vehicle theft, follow these steps:
- Contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report. You will need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following information:
- License plate number;
- Make, model, and color of your vehicle; and
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and any identifying characteristics.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of your vehicle being stolen.
- If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.