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Auto Theft

Motor vehicle theft is the fastest-growing crime countrywide, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, if vehicle theft were a legitimate business, it would rank 56 among America's largest corporations.

The $8 Billion Dollar Scam
Today, in the United States, a vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds.

It's an $8 billion a year crime. Your chances of having your car or truck stolen or broken into are one in 42. By taking a few precautions, however, you can help reduce your vulnerability and protect your vehicle.

This information highlights examples of safety precautions you can consider to protect yourself, your family, and your property. This list is not meant to be all-encompassing. Moreover, a particular precaution may not be effective or appropriate in all circumstances. We encourage you to use your own good judgement about what's appropriate.

Before You Leave Home ...

 Consider equipping your car with an alarm and car phone. Steering wheel locks, kill switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices are also effective. Display window decal warnings to tell would-be thieves you're protected.

 Slip business cards or address labels down window channels of door panels, behind the back seat, and under floor mats. This aids in theft recovery.

 Use a dye marker or etching tool to write your vehicle identification number under your hood or truck lid.

 File the car title at your home or office. Carry the registration in your wallet.

While You're on the Road ...

 Often occurring at stoplights or stop signs, carjackers may stage a minor rear-end collision, called a "bump-and-run". Working in pairs, one thief robs the motorist when he or she gets out to inspect for damage. Then the other thief simply steals your car. If you suspect a "bump-and-run", stay in your car and drive on.

 Be alert! Pay attention to what's happening around you. Don't get absorbed in activities that prevent you from being alert, such as phone conversations, combing your hair, applying make-up, or reading while waiting at stoplights.

 Don't be in a hurry to get to stoplights or signs. Slow down as you see the light change. Coast to the stop, keeping your car moving forward whenever and wherever possible. When pulling up behind another car at a stoplight or stop sign, leave enough space for an emergency escape.

 Lost or confused drivers are vulnerable. Know where you're going and how to get there. Call ahead for proper and safe directions.

 Drive with your car doors locked. Keep your windows up, using your air conditioner in warm weather.

 Keep purses, briefcases, and packages under seats or on the floor out of sight.

 Check your rear view mirror to make sure you're not followed into your driveway or garage.

If Approached by a Stranger ...

 If possible, drive off.

 Lean on your horn to attract attention.

 Don't reach for your purse or valuables. Leave them behind if forced from the car.

When Parking Your Car ...

 Never leave your car running while you dash into a convenience store for a newspaper or cup of coffee.

 Choose a spot in a populated, well-lit area.

 Don't park next to a van, truck, dumpster, or anywhere thieves might be hiding.

 Park with front wheels turned sharply to the curb to prevent thieves from towing your car.

 Choose an open, rather than closed, parking garage for greater visibility.

 Close all windows and sunroof, lock all doors and the trunk, and take your keys every time you leave your car. Four out of five cars stolen were left unlocked by the owner.

 When returning to your vehicle, have the key ready. Check inside your car for intruders.

Related links:
  Auto Safety
  In Case of an Accident
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