Car theft has become a major problem in the United States, and every year hundreds of cars, trucks, motorcycles and SUV's are reported as missing. These vehicles are most often stolen while parked on the street, in a lot or right out of a driveway.
A List of The Most Popular Targets
Sport and expensive luxury cars are common targets for auto thieves. These vehicles are taken quickly and are often resold or stripped down for parts. Any vehicle may be subject to car theft, but according to a list put together by the National Insurance Crime Bureau Auto Theft Study, the most frequently stolen vehicles in 2007 were:
- 1995 Honda Civic
- 1991 Honda Accord
- 1989 Toyota Camry
- 1997 Ford F-150
- 1994 Chevrolet 1500
- 1994 Acura Integra
- 2004 Dodge Ram
- 1994 Nissan Sentra
- 1988 Toyota Pickup
- 2007 Toyota Corolla
Tips for Prevention of Car Theft
Criminals look for an easy opportunity, so the best method of car theft prevention is to simply do everything you can to make your vehicle difficult to take.
One of the most important tips is to never leave your car unlocked. The first thing thieves will do is check to see if all the doors are locked or if a window was left down, both of which offer them very easy access. Even more importantly, never leave a key in the ignition when you are not in the vehicle. Some people feel it is safe to keep a car motor running in their own neighborhood while they are inside the home, or even during a quick stop at a convenience store, but it only takes a moment for a thief to break in and drive away with your vehicle.
People who own cars that are likely to be targeted for a burglary should consider investing in a car alarm, or other security device such as OnStar, GPS or a Lojack tracking system. These will help protect your car, or aid in the recovery of a vehicle if it is stolen. Place a sticker on a window that signifies your automobile has an active alarm, as this will help to deter thieves from attempting to steal it.
Never leave personal belongings or anything of value in your car where others can see them. Keeping personal property inside the vehicle where anyone passing by might notice is like leaving an invitation for a criminal to choose your car. Always store anything you have purchased in the trunk until it can be brought inside your home.
Park in a well lit area where there are many other vehicles and traffic. Criminals prefer an isolated vehicle in an area where they are unlikely to be seen. This will also help to protect your car from damage due to vandalism, and reduce your risk of becoming a target for carjackers.
Prevention of Carjacking
The best way to avoid becoming a carjack victim is to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals rely on the element of surprise, and they will watch for someone who is not looking around and will not notice them until it is too late. When you stop at a red light, survey your surroundings and be aware of anyone who is walking near your vehicle. Always leave enough space between your front bumper and car ahead of you to make an emergency exit if necessary.
Watch out for scams that criminals sometimes use such as boxing in your car with other vehicles so you can not drive away, or intentionally bumping into your vehicle. Car thieves will purposely create an accident, and then steal your automobile when you get out to exchange insurance information.
If you are ever the victim of carjackers, the most important factor is your own safety. The criminal may have a gun or another weapon, and be willing to use it to get what they want. Don't put yourself at risk, it is better to give up the car and remain safe.
Immediately Report Missing Cars and Trucks
Contact the police right away if you are the victim of a car theft. Give them any information you can, such as the VIN number, license plate, make and model and color. This may help them to locate your automobile, and establish a pattern of car theft crimes in the area.