Don’t Give Thieves the Keys: Protect Your Ride During National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month
Americans put in long hours to afford motor vehicles. Whether it’s a family minivan hauling kids to school and parents to work, or a sporty hot rod that’s fulfilling a long-awaited retirement dream, that hard-earned vehicle should never end up in the hands of thieves. July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. This month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is warning vehicle owners about the threat of vehicle theft.
Vehicle theft is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States, costing vehicle owners more than $8 billion in 2022 alone. That same year, more than one million vehicles were stolen in the United States, accounting for a 25% increase in vehicle theft totals over the previous few years. Historically, passenger cars made up more than 74% of all stolen motor vehicle. Estimates show that approximately one motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds.
Anti-theft options are becoming more and more sophisticated, which can sometimes lead to a false sense of security. Car thieves are also becoming more sophisticated. It’s important for car owners to take steps to protect their vehicles. For most of us, our cars are one of our largest investments – and something we depend on.
Using a little common sense and readily available theft prevention devices can minimize auto theft. The more layers of protection, the less likely your car will be stolen. Keep these four keys to theft prevention in mind for your vehicle:
Nearly half of vehicle thefts could have been prevented by the owner2. Whenever you leave your car, take a moment to check that you have:
- Parked in a well-lit area
- Locked the doors and closed the windows
- Removed spare keys from inside the vehicle
- Moved valuables and other items out of view
Vehicles that are easy to break into and allow for a quick getaway are attractive to thieves. Visible theft deterrents signal that your car could be difficult to steal. Consider using:
- Steering wheel locks
- Brake pedal locks
- Theft-deterrent decals
- Audible alarm systems
Immobilizing devices prevent a car from being hot-wired. Many late model vehicles come with immobilization devices standard, and some after-market options are available for earlier model cars. These include:
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter or fuel pump disablers
- Wireless ignition authentication systems
A tracking device emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when a vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ telematics, which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles in Indiana
1. Ford Pickup (Full size)
2. Chevrolet Pickup (Full size)
3. Chevy Impala
4. Chevrolet Malibu
5. Dodge Pick-Up (Full Size)
6. Honda Accord
7. Ford Fusion
8. Toyota Camry
9. Nissan Altima
10. Jeep Cherokee / Grand Cherokee
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Auto liability insurance is required in all 50 states, but coverage against theft – the comprehensive coverage – is optional. For more information, call your AAA insurance agent or insurance customer service, or visit your local office.