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Preventing Vehicle Theft: Learn How To Protect Your Car

Preventing Vehicle Theft: Learn How To Protect Your Car

By Joseph Dobrian, September 08, 2017

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car theft remains a common and ongoing problem in the United States. Final statistics for 2016 haven’t been published yet, but in 2015, 707,758 vehicles were reported stolen in the U.S.—one every 45 seconds—of which nearly 42% were never recovered. The estimated total value of vehicles stolen nationwide is more than $5 billion.

Car theft photoThe NHTSA reports that in 2015, the 10 models most likely to be stolen were:

  1. Honda Accord
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Chevrolet Silverado
  4. Toyota Camry
  5. Ford F-150
  6. Ford Econoline
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Ford F-250
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. Chevrolet Impala


The 10 states in which vehicle thefts were most likely to occur in 2015 were:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. Washington
  5. Georgia
  6. Illinois
  7. New York
  8. Ohio
  9. Missouri
  10. Arizona


To protect against vehicle theft, the NHTSA recommends the following actions:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running
  • Do not leave your keys in your vehicle
  • Always stow away your valuables


The NHTSA advises vehicle owners to take the following steps if a vehicle is stolen:

  • Contact the police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report
  • Use information from the police report to file an insurance claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen. You’ll need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked for the following:
    • License plate number
    • Make, model, and color of the vehicle
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and any identifying characteristics
  • If you find your vehicle before authorities do, inform the police and your insurance company immediately


Various systems and devices are available to make vehicles more difficult to steal and easier to trace and recover. As a precautionary measure, it’s a good idea to have an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle.

Alarms and visual devices can deter theft by bringing attention to someone attempting to steal or break into your vehicle. These visible or audible deterrents include car alarms, flashing lights, steering wheel locks, theft-deterrent decals, and window etching.

Immobilizing devices prevent thieves from bypassing your vehicle’s fuel and ignition systems. Some systems use computer chips in ignition keys while others disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.

Vehicle recovery systems use electronic transmission technology to help law enforcement quickly locate and recover stolen vehicles and possibly catch and arrest the thieves.

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