Auto Theft Prevention

Don't Make It Easy for a Thief To Steal Your Wheels. One vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money - and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They're also often used to commit other crimes. Don't become a victim of this serious crime.

Basic Prevention

  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition.
  • Always lock your car, even if it's in front of your home.
  • Close all windows and lock the doors.
  • Never leave your car unattended with the motor running—even for a minute.
  • Copy your tag number and vehicle identification number (VIN) on a card and keep them with your driver's license.
  • Keep the registration with you, not in the car.
  • Keep the keys to your home and car separate.
  • Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get there and back.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot or auto traffic. Be especially alert in unstaffed lots and enclosed parking garages.
  • If you think someone is following you, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open service station, or other open business to get help.
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike yourself.
  • If you often drive at night, or alone, consider a CB radio or cellular phone to make it easier to summon help in an emergency.
  • Put packages or valuables out of sight.  Purses, cash, DVD players and other expensive items in full view invite thieves.
  • If you park in a commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Park your vehicle in your garage.  Lock the car and the garage.
  • Never hide spare keys under the seat, in the glove compartment, or in the sun visor.
  • Install a mechanical locking device—commonly called club, collar, or j-bar—that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees.
  • If you are selling your vehicle, never let a potential buyer test drive the vehicle without you in it.
  • Carry a record of your license plate and vehicle identification number in your wallet. Do not keep the registration in the car.
  • If going out of town without your vehicle, remove the electronic ignition fuse, rotor distributor or the coil wire to disable it.
  • If you drive a truck, install a lockbox with a case hardened padlock in the bed.

Establish Ground Rules
All members of the family should know how to protect the car against theft. Licenses, registration cards or other identifying papers that a thief could misuse should never be left in the car. Keys should be carefully guarded. If the keys have punch-out numbers these should be removed and kept at home for reference in case of loss.

License Plate Safety Tips
Protect your vehicle license plates and the registration tabs. Numerous license tabs are being stolen and resold because proof of insurance is required in order to apply for current registration.

  • Check your license plate occasionally to ensure your current year license tab is attached.
  • If you have a build up of past year tabs remove them prior to adding the current year.
  • Once you attach the current sticker - slice an X or diagonal lines, with a sharp razor blade, through the year tab so the sticker will not come apart in one piece.
  • A sturdy metal frame bolted to the license plate will discourage thieves from cutting the corner off your license plate in order to steal the year sticker.
  • Be aware of people loitering near the rear of vehicles.
  • Call the police if you suspect criminal activity.

Auto Theft Security Devices
In order to secure your car several devices may be installed to deter or prevent theft of the car or any of its parts or contents. Anti-theft devices, expensive or not, are going to deter the inexperienced theft. The installation of anti-theft devices would provide obstacles to even the experienced thief by increasing the thief’s exposure to arrest.

Ignition Cut-off: A key-operated or hidden manual switch that interrupts the power supply from the battery to the ignition.

Fuel Cut-off: Integrated into the fuel line, this device prevents the flow of gasoline once the fuel in the gas line is used. Only a special key deactivates the cut-off.

Ignition Column Guard: This security device can provide protection to the ignition starting system. The device fits around the steering column and over the ignition starting system.

Hood Lock: A secondary hood lock should be installed to prevent access to the power source, battery or siren, for an alarm system, via a key-operated bolt, which is accessible from inside the car.

Door Locks: Visible inside door lock buttons should be smooth and tapered.

Radio Security: Slide mount removable radio devices are recommended. The idea is simple: If you do not want it stolen, take it with you.

Anti-theft Steering Wheel Lock: Locks on and prevents steering wheel from turning. Its high visibility deters theft.

Guard Plate: Install a guard plate over the trunk lock with carriage bolts to protect the trunk cylinder.

Trunk Lock: As an auxiliary or secondary locking device, a heavy duty chain lock may be installed inside the trunk and is key-operated.

Wheel Locks: This device replaces one lug nut on each tire and is key-operated. (Hub caps: Sepcial locking devices are available for certain hub caps such as the spoked hub, etc.

Source:  National Crime Prevention Council