It’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your car is?
That question is becoming increasingly relevant as thefts of motor vehicles skyrocket in many areas across the United States.Read More »
In 2021, close to a million vehicles were reported to law enforcement as having been stolen in the country, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Hot Spots Report. The figure was a 6% increase over 2020 and a 17% increase from 2019.
Most thefts by state
The state with the most vehicle thefts was Colorado, where 661 cars were stolen for every 100,000 people in the state. The number was an increase of a third over the 500 thefts reported in 2020.
After Colorado came Washington D.C. (651); California (511); New Mexico (475); Oregon (471); Washington (462); Missouri (428); Nevada (427); Oklahoma (359); and Texas (320).
When it came to the volume of cars stolen California led other states with more than 200,000 vehicles stolen, which was 100,000 more thefts than those that took place in Texas, which occupied second place.
Essential to our welfare
In most cases cars are essential to our families’ welfare and to our livelihoods, says David Glawe, who is president of NICB.
The bureau is working with its partners in law enforcement to deter and prevent vehicle theft, Glawe says, but owners of vehicles also can take simple steps to protect themselves.
What you can do
Here are steps that you can take toward helping to avoid your car or truck being stolen:
• Never leave your car when the engine is running.
This seems an obvious step to take as a thief can jump into your car and drive off with it, yet a surprising number of people still do so.
In one case a mother was reported to have left her car running with a baby in a car seat in the back when the car was stolen.
Leaving your car running is simply asking for trouble.
• Always take your key or fob with you when you leave your car unattended.
Clearly leaving your key in the car is an open invitation to any would-be thief lurking in the area.
• Do not make the mistake of leaving your car’s fob in your car at all times. Some people do so because it makes it easy for them to open and start their cars. Indeed, a surprisingly large number of people follow this practice and are surprised when their cars are stolen. After all, a thief will find it just as easy to open and start the car as you do.
Even when your car is parked in your garage, always lock the car and take the fob with you.
• Always lock your doors when you leave your car unattended, even for a short time. For most cars today locking the doors is easy—you simply have to press a button on your car’s remote.
• Keep your windows closed when you are not in your car.
When the windows are open it is easy for a thief to reach in and unlock your car.
• Always park your personal vehicles in a garage. If this is impossible and a vehicle must be parked in a driveway, you might want to install security lights that turn on when motion is detected.
Although lights might not ensure complete security, they can act as a deterrent to thieves who might think twice and leave the area without touching your car.
• Ensure that your automobile policy is up to date.
• If your vehicle is stolen call the police and your insurance company immediately. Doing so increases the chances that it will be recovered.
E-bikes Also Can Be Stolen
If you own an electric bicycle you might want to take care that it, too, is kept safe from thieves.
After all, an e-bike, like a traditional bicycle, can be hopped on and pedaled away, Trevor Fenner, founder of Electric Bike Paradise, points out. It also is easier to ride away on an e-bike than a vehicle that requires a code or a key. Even if thieves do not know how the throttle works, they can still pedal, he adds.
Fenner suggests taking these steps to prevent your e-bike from being stolen:
• Invest in a bicycle lock.
A lock is the easiest way you can secure your e-bike and prevent it from being stolen.
• Consider installing more than one lock on the bicycle. Doing so will make it less tempting for thieves to try to steal it.
• If possible, park your e-bike in a place where you can see it from the store or restaurant.
Try to avoid parking your e-bike in areas that are known to be high-theft areas.
• When you are not using your e-bike, park it in a locked garage or inside.
Avoid leaving it unattended or on the back of a truck that is unsupervised.
• Installing a GPS or similar tracking device on your e-bike also can be a great help in tracking it down if it is stolen.
Above all, Fenner says, lock your e-bike, keep it inside when it is not in use, and keep an eye on it whenever you can.