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August 16, 2013

Obvious Tip: Lock Your Doors To Help Prevent Auto Theft

Car-theft-prevention-tips-thinkstock-155251967It might seem obvious, but locking your car doors and taking your keys with you when you leave your vehicle are the first two tips offered by the Department of Transportation to help reduce your chances of vehicle theft.

Every 44 seconds a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States, and more than 40% of those thefts involve mistakes made by the drivers. With agency trend data showing that July and August are the worst months for vehicle thefts, the Department of Transportation is offering the following tips to help avoid thefts and increase the chance that vehicles are recovered:

• Always take your key, Car-theft-safety-tips_vehicle-theft-thinkstock-162764587don’t leave it in or on your vehicle. (This might seem obvious, but the car of a friend of mine was stolen just last month by a thief who happened to discover the spare key hidden on the vehicle.)
• Always keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible.
• When you’re not in your own garage, park in well-lit areas. (And this is for your own safety too, to help prevent danger to you when getting in and out of your car in dimly lit areas.)
• Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park, and never, ever leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen. (Why tempt bad luck?)
• Never, ever leave the area while your vehicle is running.
• Protect your vehicle with an antitheft/immobilizer device. Many insurance companies – about 43 percent of those reporting – offer discounts on vehicles with anti-theft devices.


Car thieves want parts and valuable items, too.

Radios and wheel covers aren't the only popular stolen vehicle parts thieves take. They want whatever sells, from the mandated labeled parts that are installed when your car is assembled to those aftermarket items that are added later. Among some of the most popular parts or items left in vehicles are: engine, transmission, air bags, radios, GPS units, iPods, laptops, and purses. Vehicle thieves can strip a vehicle in less than 30 minutes— and make two to four times a vehicle’s worth by selling its individual parts. 

And don’t think leaving your purse in the trunk is a good solution: I know a woman whose pocketbook was stolen right out of her trunk. Sometimes thieves monitor parking lots just to watch for people leaving valuables in the trunk and then walking away to do more shopping. 

For more information, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s  brand new theft prevention infographic, brochure, and video at    

Stay connected with NHTSA via: | | |


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