Preventing Car Theft: What You Need to Know


How easy is it for your car to get stolen? Part of it depends on the time of year, a study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that June through August are the prime months for car theft. One of the easiest yet most ignored ways of preventing car theft is never to leave your keys in the car.

Here is what you need to know about car theft and how you can prevent your car from being stolen.

Why you should care about car theft

Stolen vehicle incidents spiked from 2011 to 2017 according to NICB data, with an average of 2,207 cases per day in summer months. By 2017, the average number of stolen cars per day from August through September reached 2,325. The NICB has confirmed most car theft occurs in the summer due to people taking vacations and being away from their homes.

When you stay in a motel or hotel, your vehicle can be a target for theft, just as leaving a parked car in your driveway while you’re away can invite criminals to stake out your home. Even though summer is a hot season for stolen vehicles, New Year’s Day is among the most likely days of the year for these crimes to occur. That’s because a significant number of people have hangovers after partying all night and sleep in late while criminals do their evil work.

Halloween is also a vulnerable period for car owners due to all attention being placed on trick-or-treaters, costume parties, and watching horror movies. Overall, car theft has been increasing due to rising vehicle prices and wireless technology that allows people to start their cars without keys. This modern RFID device makes it easy for a car owner to open their car door with an electronic key fob, much like how a barcode works. Unfortunately, like a computer, a key fob can be hacked.

How to protect your car from theft

A major reason behind increasing car theft is people are leaving their keys in their vehicles. Perhaps due to modern digital technology, people have become complacent, especially when it comes to security. They naturally assume that by using sophisticated technology, they don’t have to worry as much. So the first rule of thumb on how to prevent your car from being stolen is to use common sense.

Never leave your car doors unlocked even when you run into a store for just a minute. You never know who’s monitoring you in this age of widespread surveillance. Keep your windows rolled up, and don’t leave your key in the ignition. Make sure when your vehicle is unattended, it’s in a well-lit location. In 2018, over 80,000 vehicles were stolen because of unsuspecting drivers leaving their keys in the vehicle for crooks to steal.

Installing an alarm in your car and locking the steering wheel are other measures to deter theft. You can further protect your car with an immobilizing device and a tracking device such as a telematics system.

The best way to prevent car theft is never to leave the key in the ignition, which would make it very easy for miscreants to enter the car and drive away. Your car is more than just a vehicle; it represents one of those precious investments you made, perhaps having foregone many other equally essential lifestyle choices. Hence, make sure to protect it in every way possible.

If your car gets stolen, the right car insurance policy can help you recover some of the expenses. For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact an insurance professional at Westwood Insurance Agency today.