What You Should Know About Car Theft
If you own a vehicle, there are things you should know about car theft. Most of us do not think about our car being stolen, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle is stolen in the U.S. about every 44 seconds.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program:
- There were an estimated 765,484 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2016. The estimated rate of motor vehicle thefts was 236.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.
- The estimated number of motor vehicle thefts increased 7.4 percent in 2016 when compared with the 2015 estimates and 5.8 percent when compared with the 2012 estimates and dropped 30.4 percent when compared with the 2007 estimates.
- Approximately $5.9 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2016. The average dollar loss per stolen vehicle was $7,680.
South Carolina ranks 13th in stolen vehicles, 280 per 100K people according to Statistica. Only 50% of stolen vehicles are ever recovered. When they are recovered, they are often stripped of parts and accessories or damaged in an accident. Comprehensive insurance pays up to the Actual Cash Value (ACV) if it is stolen and not recovered as well as for damages. About 40% of insurance companies offer a premium discount for vehicles that have an antitheft device. These devices are not foolproof. Criminals are using sophisticated hacking technologies to beat these systems.
So, what can you do to deter or prevent car theft? Quite a lot actually and though some may seem like common sense measures, they are frequently overlooked.
- Park in a well-lit area or within sight of a security camera if possible. If you are parking in a garage, you should also park near a security camera or within sight of facility staff.
- Park with high vehicle and/or foot traffic
- Do not leave valuables in your car and if you do, do not leave them where they can be seen.
- Lock your car doors
- Add an alarm system if your car doesn’t have one
- Do not leave your car running if you are not in it
- Use a tech-based auto recovery tool
- Add an outdoor camera or motion detector security system to your home
Do not wait until it is too late. Take all reasonable precautions to avoid vehicle theft and the emotional and financial toll that comes with it.