Everyday, thieves steal cars and trucks, both old and new, from area streets, driveways, parking lots and garages. For most of the unsuspecting owners, the results can range from tremendous economic hardship to higher insurance premiums.
It is more important than ever to educate yourself on steps to prevent vehicle theft and reduce your chances of becoming the next victim.
Auto Theft Prevention Tips:
1. Lock your car doors and windows, even when you are in the vehicle. Your only exception would be to crack your windows for pets left unattended in the car.
2. Never leave your car unattended with the engine running -- not even in your driveway.
3. Do not leave or hide your car keys in or on your car.
4. Secure your vehicle's tag with one-way screws. Most suspects steal a tag to put on a stolen vehicle. Making it difficult to remove your tag increases the chances the tag will not be changed and easier for the police to spot your car.
5. Reduce attention to your vehicle. Do not leave items in plain view in the passenger compartment. Items such as firearms, packages and cellular phones draw attention to your vehicle.
6. Place your car registration, driver's license and proof of insurance in your wallet, not in the glove compartment. When sharing a vehicle, provide a copy to the other drivers.
7. Install removable electronics such as compact disc players. Don't leave them in the car.
8. Install extra security devices. Most anti-theft equipment cost less than the deductible for a stolen car.
- Steering wheel locks
- Steering column collars
- Tire locks
- Cut off switches which kill fuel flow
- Tracking devices
- Audible alarms
9. Park in secured, well lighted areas. More than 50 percent of vehicle thefts occur at night.
10. Park your vehicle in a garage if possible. Lock both your car and garage.
11. Don't be complacent because you drive an older model car. These vehicles often are stripped for parts that are sold for two to three times the car's value.
For more information contact the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's Auto Theft Prevention Unit at 704/336-2292.
Sponsored by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the City of Charlotte