A vehicle is stolen every 21 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money. They also increase insurance premiums. In addition, they are often used in the commission of other crimes.
Develop Good Habits
- Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you’re away from it.
- Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even in your own driveway.
- Never leave valuables in plain view even if the car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight. Or better yet, take them out of the car.
- If you must leave your key with a valet, attendant, or mechanic leave only the ignition key. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable firm.
- In high theft areas, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be etched on windows, doors, fenders, and trunk lid. This makes it difficult for a thief to market your stolen car parts.
- Install a mechanical theft device such as a club, color, or J bar.
- Many vehicles today come with some type of security system from the factory. Normally there are upgraded systems available if you ask. The best choice is a system that shuts off the fuel supply so that a car cannot be started or driven.
Carjacking, the stealing a car by force, is really a form of robbery. Statistically, your chances of being a carjacking victim are very slim. However, you can reduce your risk of being victimized even further by following these suggestions:
- Approach your car with key in hand. Look inside, particularly at the backseat area before getting in.
- When driving keep your doors locked and windows rolled up.
- Be especially alert at intersections, gas stations, ATMs, shopping malls, convenience, and grocery stores. These all provide better opportunity for the criminal.
- Never trap yourself by following or stopping too closely to the car in front of you. This limits your ability to drive away in an emergency. The same goes for parking in areas that are difficult to maneuver in with your vehicle.
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas with good visibility, close to walkways, stores, and people.
- If the carjacker has a weapon, give up the car without question. It is not worth your life.