Today, in the United States, a vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds. It's an $8 billion a year crime. Your chances of having your car or truck stolen or broken into are 1 in 42. By taking a few precautions, however, you can help reduce your vulnerability and protect your vehicle.
This information highlights examples of safety precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your property. This list is not meant to be all encompassing. Moreover, a particular precaution may not be effective in all circumstances.
A Few Facts About Car Thieves...
- The most frequently stolen vehicles are eight- or nine-year-old cars with very low book values. That's because car thieves today are less often kids out for a joy ride in a hot new car, like they used to be years ago.
- Most car thieves are professional criminals who strip older cars and sell their parts for much more money than the book value of these cars.
- The most frequently stolen newer vehicles are utility and sports vehicles and luxury cars, while station wagons and passenger vans are stolen less frequently.
Before You Leave Home...
- Consider having your vehicle's windows etched with the vehicle's identification number. Call 954-344-1835 for more information.
- Consider equipping your car with an alarm and car phone. Steering wheel locks, kill switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices are also effective. Display window decal warnings to tell would-be thieves that you're protected.
- Slip business cards or address labels down window channels of door panels, behind the back seat, and under floor mats; this aids in theft recovery.
- Keep the car and house keys on separate rings, without identification tags.
- Use dye marker or an etching tool to write your vehicle identification number under your hood and truck lid.
- File the car title at your home or office. Carry the registration in your wallet.
- Enroll in a reliable emergency road service.
While You're On The Road: Avoid Carjacking...
- Often occurring at stoplights or stop signs, carjackers may stage a minor rear-end collision, called a "bump-and-run." Working in pairs, one thief robs the motorist when he gets out to inspect for damage, then another simply steals your car. If you suspect a "bump-and-run" stay in your car and drive on.
- Be alert! Pay attention to what's happening around you. Don't get absorbed in activities that prevent you from being alert, such as phone conversations, combing your hair, applying make-up or reading while waiting at stoplights.
- Don't be in a hurry to get to stoplights or signs. Slow down as you see the light change; coast to the stop, keeping your car moving forward whenever and wherever possible.
- When pulling up behind another car at a stoplight or stop sign, leave enough space for an emergency escape.
- Lost or confused drivers are vulnerable. Know where you're going and how to get there. Call ahead for proper and safe directions.
- Drive with all your car doors locked. Keep your windows up, using your air conditioner in warm weather.
- Keep purses, briefcases, and packages under seats or on the floor out of sight.
- Check your rear view mirror to make sure you're not followed into your driveway or garage.
- If you are the victim of a carjacking, don't reach for your purse or valuables; leave them behind if forced from the car.
If Approached by Strangers...
- Drive off, if possible.
- Never roll down your windows.
- Lean on your horn to attract attention.
When Parking Your Car...
- Never leave your car running while you dash into a convenience store for a newspaper or cup of coffee.
- Choose a spot in a populated, well-lit area.
- Don't park next to a van, truck, dumpster; anywhere thieves could be hiding.
- Park with front wheels turned sharply to the curb to prevent thieves from towing your car.
- Choose an open, rather than closed, parking garage for greater visibility.
- Close car windows and sunroof, take your keys, lock all doors and the trunk.
- When returning to your vehicle, have the key ready. Check inside your car for intruders.
- Remove all valuables from your vehicle.