Vehicle Theft Prevention: Take Charge of Your Safety This July
July is a month of outdoor gatherings, barbecues, and sunny beach days. But it also holds a crucial observance that's essential to your peace of mind and personal safety — National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated a significant effort to draw attention to the rising concern of motor vehicle theft. In 2022 alone, more than a million vehicles were stolen in the United States, costing owners upwards of $8 billion.
Motor vehicle theft is not just about the vehicle; thieves are also on the lookout for valuable items left in the car, including cell phones, iPads, laptops, purses, and even specific parts of your vehicle. With the summer season registering as a high-risk time for vehicle theft, it's time to get serious about implementing preventive measures to ensure the safety of our vehicles.
Don't Make It Easy for Thieves
According to NHTSA data, a motor vehicle was stolen every 32 seconds in the United States in 2022. Quite often, these thefts occur due to driver errors and oversights, such as leaving keys in the vehicle or neglecting to close windows and lock doors.
Always remember to take your vehicle's key with you and ensure all windows and doors are securely locked. If possible, park in well-lit areas and never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially in plain sight. Don't unintentionally invite thieves by making your vehicle an easy target.
Empower Your Vehicle with Anti-theft Systems
There's an extensive range of anti-theft systems and devices available today that can make vehicles harder to steal and easier to recover. These include:
Audible and Visible Devices: Devices like horn alarms, steering-wheel locks, theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching serve to deter theft by drawing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter your vehicle.
Immobilizing-Type Devices: These devices can prevent thieves from hot-wiring your vehicle by incorporating computer chips in ignition keys or disabling the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.
Vehicle Recovery Systems: Equipped with electronic transmission technology, these systems can help law enforcement reveal the location of stolen vehicles—and possibly even catch the thief in the act.
Investing in these systems can enhance your vehicle's safety and provide an extra layer of protection.
The Nightmare Scenario: If Your Vehicle Gets Stolen
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle is stolen, remember to stay calm and take immediate action. First, contact the police to file a stolen-vehicle report. You will need to provide your license plate number, make, model, and color of your vehicle, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and any identifying characteristics.
Within 24 hours, notify your insurance company and file a claim. If you happen to find your vehicle before the authorities do, promptly inform the police and your insurance company.
Taking a Stand Against Vehicle Theft
The NHTSA, dedicated to promoting safe behaviors on our nation's roads, has taken comprehensive measures to tackle vehicle theft. From enforcing regulations that require vehicle manufacturers to label major vehicle components to encouraging the installation of passive anti-theft devices, NHTSA is leading the charge to prevent vehicle theft.
Through their vehicle theft prevention outreach, NHTSA provides vehicle owners with valuable information to reduce and deter motor vehicle theft. By offering fact sheets, infographics, theft-rate data, and state-by-state high-theft area identification, they equip consumers with vital knowledge to safeguard their vehicles.
This July, let's commemorate National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month by reinforcing the safety of our vehicles. Remember, prevention begins with awareness and taking the necessary precautions. Don't give thieves a chance – be proactive, be alert, and keep your vehicle safe.