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Don’t Be a Victim of Car Theft

Every 44 seconds, a vehicle is stolen somewhere in the U.S., and according to the most recent numbers from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), California ranks first in auto theft figures: behind California, the next states on the list for car theft are Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois. Did you know that if your vehicle has anti-theft devices, you may be able to lower your car insurance premium?‎

Most car thefts are crimes of opportunity:

• More than 33% of all vehicle thefts occur near the car owner’s residence
• Almost 20% of thefts happen in parking lots

To prevent thefts, police agencies recommend “Layered Protection.” The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the tougher it is to steal. The number of layers your vehicle needs varies depending on your vehicle and where you live. Your budget and personal preferences will help you decide which anti-theft device is best for you.

Here are things you can do to help protect your car from theft:

1. Don’t leave your car unlocked, even in front of your own home.
2. Never leave your car running while it is unattended.
3. Do not hide a spare key with your vehicle. Thieves know exactly where to look for that extra key.
4. Never leave your windows open
Even during the hot summer days, don’t leave your windows open or slightly cracked when you are not in the vehicle.
5. Park in well-lit, public areas
Avoid parking in areas that are poorly lit or in areas that are hidden from public view.
6. Install an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device
Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices since they attract attention when they’re triggered.
7. Install a vehicle immobilizer system. You can stop thieves from “hotwiring” your car with an ignition cut-off system.
8. Consider installing a GPS tracking system
If your car is stolen, this tracking system puts out a signal pinpointing your vehicle’s location to the police.
9. Don’t leave valuables in your car
Leaving valuables in plain view is a sure way to attract a thief to your car. Store valuables in your trunk or under the seats, to keep it hidden from prying eyes.
10. Don’t keep your title, registration or insurance information in your vehicle; take them with you when your car is left unattended. A car thief scoping out your car will be more likely to steal it if they have access to documents that can also help them steal your identity.
11. Use Common Sense
Be aware of your immediate surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots and gas stations.
12. Etch your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) on all of your windows.
13. Display warning decals. Decals about security measures warning thieves about your security system and VIN etching may cause them to look for an easier target.

You can’t predict when a thief may try to steal your car. But, by taking some precautions, you can make a car thief’s job as difficult as possible. And if you do have anti-theft devices in your vehicle, don’t forget to check for possible discounts on your car insurance.

Have you ever been the victim of car theft? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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