car theft

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports states that a car theft occurred every 40 seconds in the United States in 2008; translating to about 930,000 incidents. Urban areas see the highest percentage of car theft and “Car Jackings”. Car theft fell by 17 percent to approximately 795,000 incidents in 2009. In that year the South experienced the most car thefts at 37.8 percent, followed by the West at 34.2 percent, the Midwest at 18 percent, and the Northeast at 10 percent. “Car Jackings” accounted for only 3 percent of all car thefts.

By 2012 eight of the top ten car theft cities could be found in California, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill. Modesto, California took the number one spot. Car thefts overall were up by 1.3 percent in 2012, with 13 states in the western region of the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii showing a huge increase of 10.6 increase over 2011.

How Can I Protect Myself from Car Theft?

Advice from the NCIB includes “layers of protection”:

  • Don’t make it easy/draw attention.
    • Never leave your keys in the ignition if you are not in the car.
    • Close your windows and sunroof completely when not in the car.
    • Never leave anything visible in the car. Not even cheap sunglasses or a few pennies.
    • Don’t hide a spare key where a thief could find it.
  • Park in a safe location.
    • If you have a garage park inside and lock all entry doors.
    • Make sure your parking space is well lit
    • If you park on the street turn your wheel toward to curb and engage the emergency brake-this makes it harder to be towed.
  • Use an antitheft device every time you lock up your car.
    • An inexpensive steering-wheel lock like the “Club” can be a deterrent.
    • Many cars come equipped with vehicle alarms.
    • A high-tech security system can alert you via text message if someone is touching your car.
    • Bonus: The use of an antitheft device may get you a discount on your car insurance.
  • Add an immobilizing device.
    • Installing a simple ignition “kill switch” in a hidden location makes it more difficult for a car thief to drive off in your car.
    • Go one step beyond and install a starter, ignition or fuel pump disabler that requires wireless ignition authorization.
  • Install a tracking device.
    • An advanced vehicle recovery device like LoJack and General Motors’ OnStar system uses global positioning technology to help police departments locate cars and trucks if they are stolen. These services cost a monthly subscription so you will have to weigh the cost/benefit scenario for your situation.

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