While automobile theft has been decreasing over the past few decades, it is still a large problem occurring across the U.S. While it may seem like newer vehicles are equipped with better technology to help prevent automobile theft; the criminals taking the vehicles are also becoming savvier and have continued to change the ways they take a vehicle and remain undetected. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), these thieves are now manipulating the technology built into smart keys to take the vehicles, then changing the VIN (vehicle identification numbers) to remain under the radar.
Additionally, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports reported 810,400 vehicles were stolen in 2020—the highest since 2008 (when 959,059 were stolen) and nearly 12% more than 2019’s car thefts (which was 724,872).
So, what can you do to protect your car and help prevent this from happening to you? Here are a few tips:
This may seem like common sense, but at times it can be tempting to leave all or even just one door unlocked while you run in for a quick errand. You should never leave any door of your vehicle unlocked when you are away from it for any amount of time. Simply locking your vehicle’s doors means a potential thief will have to work harder to gain access to your vehicle, which may just make them move on to one that doesn’t have all doors locked.
This is another one that may seem obvious, but many people still choose to either leave their key in the ignition or to leave a spare key somewhere near/on the car (such as attaching it underneath the vehicle).
Leaving any key behind anywhere in or around the vehicle makes it an easy target for a potential thief, as all they need to do is turn on the ignition and drive away. It makes your vehicle an especially suitable target if you leave the key in the vehicle and you leave your doors unlocked.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends keeping all windows on your vehicle completely rolled up. Leaving even one window just partially down provides a potential thief the opportunity to grab valuable items left in the car or to stick something thin in the opening of the window and use it to unlock the vehicle’s doors.
Leaving your vehicle behind in an area that is not surrounded by a good amount of light makes it much easier for a potential thief to target and get away with your vehicle. When you park in areas that are well-lit, potential thieves then risk being spotted by someone passing by.
You should also make sure you are properly covered by your automobile insurance coverage. To review your current automobile insurance policy to ensure you are properly covered, or to discuss your options for a different policy, contact the licensed insurance brokers at Magruder Insurance today.
Leaving anything of value in your vehicle when you are away from it is a major mistake that makes your vehicle stand out to thieves as a potential target—both for breaking into the car to take your valuables and to take the car. You should never leave things like purses, wallets, house keys, or anything else that may hold significant value in your vehicle when you are not in it. If you must leave it, try your best to hide them from sight.
You should also keep these things out of sight even when you are in or near your vehicle. For example, keeping your wallet or purse out of sight when pumping gas to keep a thief from trying to steal it from the opposite door from where you are pumping gas.