Car theft has always been a big problem in the United States. While technology like license plate readers and tracking/recovery systems have helped with more recoveries theft still continues on. Did you know that according to the FBI, a vehicle is stolen every 43 seconds? How about the fact that a total of 737,142 vehicles, equaling $4.5 billion in losses, were stolen in 2010. The bad part is that despite these large numbers, this represents an decrease in vehicles theft from prior years.
To make matters worse, insurance doesn’t cover theft unless you have the extra “comprehensive” coverage which has a national average cost of $133.00. Even then there are a lot of extra costs most don’t know about. First if you do have theft insurance you will have to pay your deductible. If you don’t have insurance you will have to buy a car completely out of pocket. Not only that, you insurance premiums will go up even if it isn’t your fault. Add the time spent dealing the police, missed work or car rental services and you have a potential financial headache.
Here are some more interesting facts. Surveys have also shown that 79% of drivers always lock their doors while 93% never leave a spare key in their car. Despite this one-third of drivers admitted to leaving their car while it was running. That is practically begging it to be stolen. On top of that 47% don’t park in well-lit areas and 40% don’t hide their valuables. Wallets, purses, phones and other gear are the obvious choice for thieves but other items can tempt them too. One third of drivers have admitted to leaving a bank statement in their car, making them the perfect target for identity theft.
Californians have it the worst with 7 cities ranking in the top 10 for car theft while California was the number one state for auto theft (Fresno being number 1.) Second place was Texas followed by: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, Ohio, and New York. While statistically new cars are often targeted, used cars can just as eaily fall prey to theft.
So what can you do to protect your car from theft? Here are a few ideas, many of which come down to common sense.
-Never leave your car running unattended, even if you are just running into your own home for a few seconds.
-Never leave a spare key in your car or in a place that is easy to break into, like a garage.
-Park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas whenever you can. Never park in some dark, remote location.
-Never park between two larger vehicles, like trucks and SUV’s. Your small car will be almost completely out of site tucked away between those larger vehicles thus making it a tempting target for thieves.
-Invest in vehicle theft tracking system like LoJack. These systems trace your cars movement and report its location to the police.
While it is true you can never protect yourself 100% a little caution and common sense can go a long way to preventing it.
Jeff Jordan lives and writes in SoCal. He writes about cars, education and real estate. If you need a good used car, Enterprise Car Sales is a a great place to look.