Once every 43.8 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thefts like these cost millions of dollars for owners and insurers, and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket - making everyone a victim.
Every July, the NHTSA hosts National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is urging consumers to help put the brakes on auto theft.
For over 100 years, the NICB has fought to protect the public from auto theft. But as NICB developed its fraud fighting techniques, criminals have developed their skills. Data from 2020 shows a dramatic increase in auto theft. In fact, there were over 873,000 thefts, with the majority taking place after May 2020. While the increase in thefts can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, auto theft can at any time.
To prevent yourself from becoming the next victim, the NICB recommends you follow these four layers of protection:
- Vehicle owners should always remove ignition keys or fobs from the vehicle, lock doors and windows, and park in well-lit areas.
- Utilize your vehicle’s anti-theft features. Whether factory installed or after-market there are a number of devices designed to lessen the risk of having your vehicle stolen.
- Many modern vehicles come factory equipped with an immobilizer - an electronic system designed to prevent unauthorized keys from starting your vehicle. The immobilizer is designed to detect that a proper key is being used to start your vehicle. If the system doesn’t detect the properly coded key, it prevents the vehicle from starting.
- Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked through a computer or cell phone.
The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it will be to steal.
Be sure to keep an eye out for NICB’s annual Hot Wheels and Hot Spots reports, which will be released soon! In the meantime, listen to The NICB Crime Examiner - a podcast focused on insurance crime issues impacting the public and how we can stay ahead of the curve.
The NICB works closely with our insurance industry, law enforcement, and manufacturing partners to provide statistical data about vehicle thefts, trends that may affect vehicle theft, and steps that can be taken to lessen the threat of vehicle theft.