July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month
Vehicles are a necessary part of our lives and a significant financial investment, making it devastating to have one stolen, especially during the summer months. In Arizona, a vehicle is stolen every 30 minutes, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44% of these vehicles are never recovered. In 2019 alone, more than half a million vehicles were stolen in the United States, creating a loss of more than 6 billion dollars to vehicle owners. Additionally, during the pandemic last year, the number of stolen vehicles increased to 873,080. In Arizona, 2004 Chevrolet and 2006 Ford pickups and 2000 Honda Civics were the most common vehicles to be stolen.
Most vehicle thefts are crimes of opportunity and can be prevented by practicing safety habits. Too often, we become complacent in our day-to-day routine. We may not realize we are creating loopholes in our safety and making ourselves vulnerable to crime. While it may be a common habit to leave your car unlocked, leave windows open or valuable items inside your vehicle overnight, these are all opportunities that a criminal will take advantage of. Unfortunately, a single stolen vehicle can be used to commit multiple other crimes affecting others in our communities as well.
This July, help keep your vehicle in your driveway with these simple steps:
- Lock vehicle doors and remember to close all windows and sunroofs.
- Remove keys from the ignition and bring them inside with you.
- Park in a garage or behind a locked gate in well-lit areas whenever possible.
- Remove any documentation with personal or financial information. It could be used to steal your identity.
- Remove all guns, weapons, spare keys, and any other valuable items from a parked vehicle.
- Set up visible warning devices such as brake locks, VIN etching, audible alarms, etc.
- Use additional security such as a tracking device or devices to immobilize your vehicle and prevent a thief from bypassing your ignition.
- NEVER leave a vehicle running while unattended.
If your vehicle is stolen, contact local law enforcement immediately and report it to Crime Stop at 602-262-6151. Have the following information ready: license plate number, make, model and color of your vehicle, and vehicle identification number. Make sure to share any other identifying characteristics such as bumper stickers and dents or damage, it can help law enforcement find your car. If you witness questionable activity in your neighborhood don't hesitate to contact law enforcement.
Visit the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority to learn more about auto theft trends.