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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in the US a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds. And, according to an analysis of FBI crime data, Tucson, AZ has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the country. Statistics show that if you live in Tucson, the chances of having your car stolen is one in 216. While roughly 50 percent of all stolen vehicles are found, they are rarely returned in the condition they were stolen in, often stripped for parts or crashed.

Car thief opening stolen car doors. Car thief, car theft
Car thief opening stolen car doors. Car thief, car theft

Most people don’t think much about car theft prevention until it is too late. However, as you can see from the data provided above, learning to prevent car theft is valuable knowledge to have.

7 Ways to Protect Your Vehicle from Theft

Keep track of your keys. One of the first questions an officer will ask you when you report your vehicle missing is, “do you have all the keys?” It’s not uncommon for people to use a hide-a-key type device to hide a spare key under their wheel well. The problem with this is that car thieves have caught on to this trick and will use it to gain access to your vehicle. While being locked out of your vehicle can be very inconvenient, it is nothing compared to the stress of having it stolen. Instead, you should keep a spare key at home in a safe location. To help always stay on top of your key’s location, consider an app or device like Tile. Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker you can easily add to any keyring.

Lock the doors and roll up the windows. Car thieves are looking for quick and easy access. So, leaving the windows down and the doors unlocked is just begging for them to take it, even if you are parked in your driveway. Even leaving the windows cracked in the summer makes breaking into your vehicle easier, so always remember to roll the windows up completely and lock the doors.

Park in well-lit, pedestrian heavy areas. Someone looking to steal a vehicle wants to do it quickly and without being seen. They often look for vehicles that are parked far away from other vehicles and buildings where people may see them. And they, of course, like it dark to avoid being seen and identified. Avoid parking in isolated parking garages, but if you must, park near a security camera or as close to the garage attendant as possible.

Don’t leave valuable items in your vehicle. It is not uncommon for someone to leave their purse, wallet, iPad, etc. in their vehicle. Even loose change has led to vehicle break-ins. While usually this sort of thing is only a smash and grab, the thief could easily decide to take your vehicle as well. If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, the best spot is the trunk. However, you should keep in mind that the thief may be watching you do this. It is best to either take your valuables with you or leave them at home.

Never leave your car running. Nearly one-third of all vehicle thefts occur near the owner’s residence. Often, cars are started on a cold morning to warm up, and you head back in to finish a cup of coffee before your commute. That is all the time a thief needs to take your vehicle. If you aren’t behind the wheel, shut off your vehicle and take your keys with you.

Use an anti-theft device. Car thieves are looking for the easy target, a vehicle they can acquire quickly without drawing any attention to themselves. A physical anti-theft device has an immobilizer system that prevents thieves from being able to hotwire your vehicle. These devices are so effective that nearly 40 percent of auto insurance companies offer a discount for vehicles that have them.

Use tech-based recovery tools. If you do all the above and your vehicle still winds up stolen, it helps to have a vehicle theft recovery tool like OnStar equipped in your vehicle. This could help you to get your vehicle back quickly, hopefully before it has been damaged. These systems use GPS to locate your vehicle’s exact position and send that information to the police.

As one of your biggest investments, protecting your vehicle from theft is extremely important, as is protecting it from damage and regular wear and tear. For your automotive service and repair needs, call the professionals at Accurate Service today at (520) 620-9129, or schedule an appointment online.