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Stay Vigilant: July Is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

Posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Vehicle theft was a $5 billion dollar crime in the United States in 2015, with nearly three-quarters of a million vehicles stolen. With numbers like that, it’s obvious that vehicle theft prevention is absolutely necessary. July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, so NHTSA is reminding you of a few simple yet important tips that can help you avoid being a victim of vehicle theft.

Vehicle theft is serious business. Did you know?

  • Passenger cars make up about 75 percent of all stolen vehicles.
  • About 42 percent of all stolen vehicles are never recovered.
  • About 707,758 vehicles were stolen in 2015. The nationwide rate of motor vehicle thefts was 220.2 per 100,000 people.
  • A vehicle is stolen about every 45 seconds in the United States.

Common Sense Is Key

Nearly half of vehicle theft is due to driver error, such as leaving your keys in the vehicle. Use common sense by always:

  • Taking your keys and not leaving them in or on your vehicle
  • Closing windows and locking doors
  • Parking in well-lit areas
  • Never leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
  • Never leaving the area while your vehicle is running
  • Keeping your vehicle in your garage, if possible

Protect Your Vehicle

There are several different types of antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal or easier to trace and recover. Here’s how some of them work:

Audible and Visible Devices deter theft by bringing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter your vehicle, such as a horn alarm. 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 prevent thieves from bypassing your 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 helps law enforcement reveal the location of other stolen vehicles—and possibility catch the thief in the act.

Where’s My Ride?

If your vehicle is stolen, contact police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. You’ll 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 license plate number; make, model and color of car; and, the VIN number and any identifying characteristics. Next, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen. If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.

Vehicle theft is not uncommon in America, so take a few extra moments to protect your ride. For more information, visit