Auto theft and burglary is rampant in the United States. In Austin alone, 4,338 vehicles were stolen and 8,635 were burglarized in 2016. There is often little evidence that can lead to an arrest and the vehicle owners incur all fees related to towing and storing their recovered vehicles. Having your vehicle stolen or burgled is certainly not a situation you want to find yourself in.
The top three most commonly stolen vehicles in Austin are Ford pickups, the Honda Accord and Chevy and GMC pickups. These stolen vehicles are often used in the commission other crimes, such as robberies, drug buys and even terrorism. Nationwide, 97% of car thieves were charged with additional crimes and 48% of bank robberies involved a stolen vehicle.
The good news is that auto theft and auto burglary are largely preventable. More than half of stolen vehicles were left unlocked. Simply locking your door is a significant step towards preventing auto theft and burglary. Other effective means of protecting your car are:
• Keeping valuables out of sight – keep them locked in the trunk or take them out of the car completely.
• Never leave you’re your car running unattended – not even for a minute. Not only is it an invitation for thieves, it’s against the law too. You can be fined up to $200 dollars for leaving the key in the ignition of your unattended vehicle.
• Invest in an alarm system – vehicle tracking, alarm systems and sensors that detect motion tampering or glass breakage can both deter theft and help track your car if it’s stolen.
• Engraving your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your car windows, major parts and expensive accessories make your car less desirable to thieves who want to sell it for parts. Austin Police Department offers this service for free and some insurance companies offer discounts to clients who get their VIN etched.
This information was provided by the Austin Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit.
For more information on auto theft prevention visit http://www.austintexas.gov/department/auto-theft