Driving Today

Despite a Recent Decline in Auto Thefts, Car Thieves Still Pose a Threat

Although FBI reports show vehicle thefts are down, you should still keep your guard up.

The ongoing war against car thieves achieved some headway last year. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual “Uniform Crime Report” showed a 7.2-percent decrease in auto thefts in 2010, compared with 2009. But thieves have not given up the lucrative business of car theft. Despite advances in electronics that make it more difficult for crooks to steal your car, vehicle theft in America is still a multimillion-dollar business. So the war against crime continues on several fronts.

Car manufacturers continue to offer features that can help deter theft. For instance, remote keyless entry allows locking and unlocking at the push of a button, and passive entry/passive start allows for unlocking and engine-starting remotely. Some cars are now equipped with intrusion-sensing systems that deter smash-and-grab thefts, while vehicle immobilizers help prevent drive-away thefts.

Despite significant improvements in security features, however, no system is foolproof. The goal of each preventative measure is to deter theft by making it more difficult for thieves to steal your vehicle. For increased protection, you can equip your car with additional antitheft safety measures. Many dealers offer a service in which your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is etched on windows and other surfaces. This makes vehicles less attractive to thieves because all windows must be replaced before the vehicle can be tagged with a fake VIN and resold. Wheel locks also hinder thieves because they require a special key to unlock the lug nuts.

Finally, you can do your part. We at Driving Today, along with the experts from Ford Motor Company, suggest these everyday things you can do to protect against theft:

  • Always take your keys with you when you leave your car. Many cars that are stolen were left open with the keys in the ignition.
  • Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park, and choose to park in well-lit areas.
  • When at home, keep your vehicle in your garage if possible.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen.
  • Never leave the area while your vehicle is running.

 

 



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