Car anti-theft advancements are now a very important part of the car buying decision to consumers. You would think with all these new theft gadgets you can find on new cars auto theft would be nearly extinct. However, unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth as the stolen car industry is still big business today. Anti-theft security systems really can only do so much to combat car theft.
Just recently, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that vehicle theft rates raised by nearly 14,000 to 1,260 million vehicles. This increase marks the fourth consecutive year the auto theft rate has climbed. However the National Insurance Crime Bureau suggests a number of methods to help car owners steer clear of vehicle theft. Lets face it anti-theft systems can actually cost a lot of money, but at least most reputable car insurance companies with give you some kind of discount if a car owner happens to have certain types of anti-theft devices on their cars.
According to the NICB, the total loss for owners and insurance companies due to vehicle theft is more than $8 billion annually, a figure that grows higher every year as cars and trucks become more expensive. In fact, the average value of cars reported stolen increased by $96 to $6,797 according to the Insurance Information Institute. Thefts also cost consumers in the way of higher annual insurance premiums.
Where you happen to live is also a major factor according to reports by the NICB who reports that owners who live in an urban area, a port city, or a town that borders Canada or Mexico should consider extra protection. The NICB lists the 10 cities, including their surrounding counties, with the highest vehicle thefts from highest to lowest: Modesto, Calif.; Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.; Stockton-Lodi, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Sacramento, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; and Detroit, Mich.
The car you drive affects its chances of being stolen. The NICB listed, from highest to lowest, the 2000 Honda Civic, 1989 Toyota Camry, 1991 Honda Accord, 1994 Chevrolet 1500 pickup, 1994 Dodge Caravan, 1997 Ford F-150 pickup, 1986 Toyota Truck, 1995 Acura Integra, 1987 Nissan Sentra and 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass as the most frequently stolen vehicles in 2003, the latest year for which data is available.
Here are some helpful tips to protect your autos from car theft.
1. Never hide your car keys in or around your car, thieves know where to look.
2. Never leave valuables in plan view; leaving valuables in your seat just tempts the thieves.
3. Credit cards, checkbooks and personal ID’S should never be left in your car or you can become a victim of identity theft along with auto theft.
4. Never leave car registrations or titles in the car making it easier for the theft to sell you’re car.
5. Always park in well-lit areas especially in parking garages.
6. Thieves will tow your car away so remember to leave a standard in gear and automatics always activate your parking emergency brakes.
7. Lock your garage door when your car is parked in it and make sure any other doors and windows are locked as well.
8. Don’t be fooled if you think your car is too old, car age doesn’t matter to car thieves.
While nothing is full proof many of the cars stolen every year could have be avoided if car owners had remembered to take some of these basic precautions.