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Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Avoid Car Theft

Summer brings on many things; warm weather, driving with the top down, cruising with our windows open – and car theft, which, according to the Insurance Information Institute, peaks in July and August.

Since July is Auto Theft Awareness Month, designed to educate drivers to be more vigilant in protecting vehicles from theft as well as to provide information to vehicle owners should theft occur, I thought I’d pass along the following tips on how you can take preventive measures to keep your car secure.

• Consider using a security device, such as a steering wheel lock or a gear shift column lock
• If at all possible, park your vehicle in your garage an remember to lock all garage doors
• If you keep valuables or personal property in the car, remember to lock it up in the trunk
• Don’t leave your car running while it is unattended
• Park only in areas that are well lit
• Remember to keep all windows rolled up and windows locked when leaving your car
• Install an auto alarm system
• Never leave your keys in the car
• Consider getting a GPS system installed
• Consider a Smart Key, Keyless Entry or Advanced Key System

According to statistics, more than one-third of all vehicle thefts occur near the vehicle owner’s residence and only one-fifth of vehicle thefts are committed in parking lots. Another one in five thefts takes place when drivers leave their cars unattended - with the keys in the ignition.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau believes a layered approach works best to prevent auto theft and recommends that beyond employing anti-theft and vehicle immobilizing devices (like fuel cut-offs and smart keys), that GPS systems are a great idea simply because they work to aid law enforcement in tracking a stolen vehicle.

If your vehicle is stolen, the National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends owners have the following information ready to give to the police:

• The year, make, model and color of the car and the license plate number
• The approximate time the car was stolen
• A description of anyone you may have seen loitering around your car before it was stolen
• The names of any witnesses

Remember, the more difficult you make it for the thief, the better the odds that you wont be a victim.

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