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NPPD Crime Prevention Tip:

Preventing Automobile Theft


According to the FBI, (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Uniform Crime Reports, a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 26.4 seconds; that’s 2,880 cars a day, or over one million a year.  The reasons for automobile theft include:  The resale value of the car, often overseas, or for its parts, which can generate much greater profit margins. They may also be taken for no cost transportation.  Finally cars are also stolen to facilitate the completion of other more sinister crimes such as robberies and burglaries. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of automobile theft, there are things you can do to decrease the chance of your car being stolen.  Many are no cost practices that can be incorporated into your daily routine.  Others are more expensive and owners should conduct a cost/benefit analysis before committing to the expenditure.  A few of the no cost practices are as follows:

Never leave your car running while unattended.  This is almost an open invitation to give your car away.  Additionally, in New Jersey it is illegal to leave an automobile running and unattended.  It also creates a safety hazard, wastes fuel, and is not environmentally green either. 

Never leave your keys in your car, even in a locked garage.  Thieves know to check all the hiding spots commonly used by friends and families such as above the visor, in the ashtray, or below the seat.    

When your car is not in use, always roll up the windows and lock the doors, even in locked garages. 

Never leave valuable contents in view. GPS navigation devices; ez pass transponders; MP3 players; loose change; garage door openers; etcetera, should be secured out of sight and preferably outside of the vehicle as well. 

When away from home or your employment site, attempt to always park your car in well lit, heavily traveled areas.

Never leave identification documents in the car, especially registration and insurance cards. 

When parking your car with a valet, provide them the valet key and remove documents and valuables as noted previously, or better yet, park it yourself if permitted.  

You may also want to consider additional steps that will incur a cost.  One needs to consider the expenditure versus the benefit.  Factors that should be considered include the year, make, and model of the car; the car’s cosmetic appearance and mechanical condition; any sentimental value the car may have to you as the owner; and depending on where you live, if your car is a model that is commonly stolen in that area.  These options include but are not limited to:

If having an alarm installed, seek out reputable businesses, get several estimates and check with local law enforcement if there are any regulations you need to maintain  compliance with. 

Consider having a hidden engine shut off switch installed.  These prevent the car from being started by unauthorized persons, but remember cars are also stolen by tow truck and flat bed vehicle carriers.

Consider a device such as: “the club” that prevent a steering wheel from being turned. 

Consider a service such as “Lojack” that hides a transponder in your car.  If reported stolen to law enforcement the device is activated and it emits a signal that allows police vehicles with special detectors to locate and recover the car. 

These suggestions are by no means all inclusive, there are other options and products you can consider. For further suggestions consult your local law enforcement agency.