Consumer Alert: Auto Theft Increases in the Summer Months
Image: NCCC

Nearly half of the vehicles stolen each year in the U.S. are never recovered

Every 44 seconds a motor vehicle is stolen somewhere in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That's more than 700,000 vehicles reported stolen every year.

Agency trend data also shows that vehicle thefts are most common in the warm summer months of July and August.

NHTSA says that more than 40 percent of all motor vehicle theft incidents involve mistakes made by drivers—and nearly half of the vehicles stolen each year are never recovered.

But the agency stresses that if you follow a few simple steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of being targeted by a car thief—or greatly increase the chances that your vehicle will be recovered in the event that it is stolen.

To help protect your vehicle and personal belongings from being stolen, NHTSA suggests that you:

  • Always take your key, don't leave it in or on your vehicle.
  • Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Always 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.
  • Protect your vehicle with an antitheft/immobilizer device.

If your vehicle has been stolen:

  • Don't panic.
  • Contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. (You may also be asked to provide the following information: License plate number, make, model and color of car, VIN number and any identifying characteristics).
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen.
  • If you find your vehicle before authorities, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.

For more information on auto theft prevention, visit Safercar.gov/theft.

Content Last Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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