Preventing car theft

In light of Monday's vehicle theft and child abduction in San Jose that triggered an AMBER Alert, AAA has released some tips to ensure your car stays where you left it. Citing statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, AAA reported 715,373 motor vehicle thefts were reported nationwide in 2011. That means one vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds. Those loses totaled $4.3 billion. Since more than half of all vehicle thefts are the result of driver error, here are some things you can do to prevent it:
  • Protect your car using multiple layers of protection, such as locked doors, a steering wheel lock, immobilization devices like kill switches or tracking devices and stickers that indicate the vehicle is protected;
  • Do not leave your keys in the car;
  • Always set your parking brake to make it more difficult for a thief to tow your car away;
  • Never leave your vehicle alone with the engine running, even if you only will be gone for a minute;
  • Park your car in a well-lit, populated areas;
  • Hide your valuables. The simplest things such as empty shopping bags, sunglasses and a change of clothes may tempt a thief;
  • Never leave your car's title inside the vehicle;
  • Do not hide a spare ignition key on the vehicle. Thieves know to look for keys in popular hiding places like inside a car bumper and wheel well; and
  • If your car is missing, call the police then your insurance company.
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