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Auto Theft Tips And Prevention

The market for stolen vehicles and their parts is more sophisticated than ever. It is not just a joy rider, or a teenager looking for loose change, it is a complex underground operation. The sum of the parts can be much greater than the whole. The vehicle and its parts aren’t he only target, from golf clubs to GPS, thieves want what is yours.

In 2006 there were almost 1.2 million vehicle thefts, according to The National Insurance Crime Bureau. What is maddening is the absent mindedness some vehicle owners possess. Fifty percent of the vehicles reported stolen were unlocked. Fifteen percent of total vehicles stolen actually had their keys in the ignition. Valuable items such as golf clubs and GPS systems were left in plain sight. Even more baffling owners leave their wallets and purses not only in the vehicle, but in clear view. The values are staggering. Approximately $8B worth of vehicles were stolen in 2006, per the NICB. The value of contents cannot be accurately determined due to underreporting of the thefts and values that are under an insured’s deductible. We all become victims, since auto thefts make insurance premiums rise.

Prevention is the only way to combat the problem, other than moving out of Texas or California, the highest theft rate states per capita. Of course there are obvious methods for prevention. With modern technology, and keyless entry, it is no effort to lock your car at all times, even if the process is manual, take the time to secure your vehicle. If valuables have to be in your car, hide them or lock them in the trunk, don’t make the car an extra target. Don’t even show signs of a GPS or DVD system that is detachable. If thieves see the cords they are going to assume that the GPS or DVD player is hidden under a seat. Wallets and purses are no brainers as well, that is real easy money for a thief, just always take them with you, what is the point of leaving them in the car? The baffling situation of keys in the ignition I assume is somewhat part absent mindedness, but it is a bad habit and a green light go for a car thief. Alarms and auto-lock features pose some protection, but the car alarm is a common sound of suburbia and sadly gains little attention when it goes off. Lojack systems have found to be highly effective when a car is stolen. 90% of stolen vehicles equipped with a Lojack system, essentially a global positioning system on the vehicle, are recovered, compared to the 58% recovery of non-equipped vehicles.

The underground stolen vehicle market knows the stripping and selling of a car’s parts is worth more than the car as a whole, thus common, older everyday vehicles are in the high theft category. There aren’t any high end vehicles in the most stolen vehicle line-up. The NICB lists names like, Camry, Civic, Accord, and Taurus in the top ten, not dream vehicles by many peoples standards. Because the cars are so common, their parts can bring in good money, and there’s a big underground marketplace.

Prevention and constant vigilance are the only way an individual can truly fight car theft. An extreme way to also avoid it is to stay away from high theft vehicles, but these vehicles are also high theft because they are good cars. Knowledge is also power, report anything to the police and your insurance company even if it is a break-in to steal old CD’s. If it is a common problem in your town people knowing about it can prevent it and possibly catch the perpetrator. Until technology advances to a point that cars can’t be stolen, we have to be careful and educated.

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