Auto theft is on the rise nationwide, with 810,400 vehicles being stolen in 2020 alone, an 11.8% increase from 2019. And while 2022 statistics have not yet been released, the Ag Workers auto claims department is already seeing an influx in total thefts, specifically in the Houston and San Antonio areas.
With the increase in vehicle theft, it’s critical to know how to prevent these offenses from occurring and take steps as responsible car owners to help avoid them.
1. Secure Your Vehicle
Keep your car secured—lock your doors, roll up your windows, and do not leave your car unattended if the keys are in the ignition. While it seems pretty basic, it is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your vehicle from being stolen.
If you even have the slightest doubt you left your car unsecured, return and lock it to be safe. It will give you peace of mind and save you the headache of filing a claim with your insurance company.
2. Remove Valuable Items
One of the ways that we can best prevent car theft is by removing valuable items from the vehicle that will catch a thief’s eyes—purses, wallets, phones, and other electronics.
If you prefer to leave the items in your vehicle, consider moving them to the trunk before you get to your desired location to avoid drawing attention from onlookers.
3. Park in Well-Lit Areas
Whether you are out shopping or working late, you should think about your parking space.
If working late, parking close to your workspace under a streetlight is the best and safest option. The same holds true if you are out shopping—park somewhere with lots of foot traffic and a light above you. Bystanders and security cameras from nearby stores will often deter thieves.
4. Have an Immobilizer System
Sometimes, we have no choice but to park in more secluded areas. And in these instances, it is great to have an immobilizer system—a type of electronic security technology that helps prevent vehicles from being hot wired.
Vehicles made in the past 20 years most likely include a car immobilizer system. To check if your vehicle already has this anti-theft feature installed, check your owner’s manual or visit your local mechanic.
5. Install a GPS Tracking Device
Sometimes taking preventive measures, like those listed above, may not be enough to deter a very determined thief. But if you have a GPS tracking device installed, the authorities can use the tracking device to help track and recover your missing vehicle—saving you time and heartache.
With all these tips in mind, the next question you should be asking yourself is, “How am I going to better protect myself against theft?” Some of these tips require no money at all and are highly effective. Remember that a little effort goes a long way, so take the initiative and keep your cars safe!
This article was written by Parker Campbell, Ag Workers 2022 Marketing Intern.