To help drivers keep their vehicles safe, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has marked July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. Specifically, the NHTSA hopes to increase awareness of the stolen vehicle epidemic during this event. Vehicle theft prevention is important as, in 2020, vehicle thefts rose to more than 800,000—a 9.2% uptick over 2019.
- Audible and visible devices—Car alarms can deter theft because they call attention to a vehicle should someone try to enter it without a key. Likewise, steering wheel locks and theft-deterrent decals warn a would-be thief to stay away.
- Immobilizing-type devices—This antitheft system makes it nearly impossible for thieves to hot-wire your vehicle.
- Vehicle recovery systems—If your vehicle is stolen and has a vehicle recovery system, law enforcement may be able to tap into it and locate your vehicle.
- Always take your keys with you, close your windows, lock the doors and park in well-lit areas.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen. Additionally, avoid leaving the area while your vehicle is running.
- Contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. You’ll need a copy of the police report or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may be asked to provide your license plate number; the make, model and color of your vehicle; your vehicle identification number (VIN); and any identifying characteristics of the vehicle.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim no more than 24 hours after discovering your vehicle was stolen.