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Protecting Your Vehicle from Theft: Key Statistics and Tips

Protecting Your Vehicle from Theft: Key Statistics and Tips

Vehicle theft remains a significant concern in Ohio and across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 1 million vehicles were stolen in 2022, half of which were due to driver error. This crime comes with a hefty price tag, costing vehicle owners over $8 billion in 2022 alone. Passenger cars constituted more than 74% of all stolen vehicles, with summer being the peak season for theft.

The following tips from the NHTSA will help you protect your vehicle and curb vehicle theft's impact on your life and finances. 

The NHTSA recommends starting with these common-sense steps to safeguard your vehicle:

  • Always take your vehicle's key with you; avoid leaving it in or on the vehicle.
  • Secure your vehicle by closing and locking all windows and doors when parking.
  • Opt for well-lit parking areas whenever possible.
  • Never leave valuable items visible inside your vehicle.

Thieves target a range of valuable parts, including doors, engines, transmissions, airbags, radios, GPS units, and personal items. To counter this, various anti-theft systems are available:

  • Audible and Visible Devices: Horn alarms and visible deterrents like steering-wheel locks, decals, flashing lights, and window etching draw attention to theft attempts.
  • Immobilizing-Type Devices: These prevent unauthorized ignition and hot-wiring. Some use ignition key computer chips or disrupt electricity/fuel flow.
  • Vehicle Recovery Systems: Utilizing electronic transmission technology, these aid law enforcement in locating stolen vehicles promptly.

If your vehicle is stolen, follow these steps:

  1. Contact Police: Report the theft immediately to the police and obtain a case number or police report for your insurance claim.
  2. Inform Your Insurance Company: File a claim within 24 hours of the theft and provide essential details including license plate number, vehicle make, model, color, VIN, and identifying characteristics.
  3. Act Swiftly: If you find your vehicle before the authorities, notify the police and your insurance company immediately.
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