NHTSA: Be wary of vehicle thieves
Auto theft remains one of the most common and costly crimes in the U.S. today. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 700,000 vehicles were stolen in 2014 – roughly one every 46 seconds – sufficient to incur losses in excess of $4.5 billion. Equally troubling, barely 45 percent of stolen vehicles are ever recovered and nearly half end up being snatched as a direct result of owner error. July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and to help raise awareness of this problem and its solutions, NHTSA has compiled a list of common-sense tips in conjunction with its annual Vehicle Theft Prevention Campaign.
Not surprisingly, at the head of NHTSA’s best practices is the admonition to always close the windows and lock the doors anytime you park your vehicle and be sure to hide any valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Other prudent tips include parking your vehicle in well-lit areas whenever possible and never leaving the keys in the ignition or the engine running even if you step away for a just minute. On the passive front, NHTSA also recommends equipping any car or truck with an effective anti-theft device. At the end of the day, there may be no way to thwart every thief. But a bit of caution can go a long way towards ensuring your vehicle will be right where you left it.