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Auto Theft

rear wing window broken on carAuto theft is a common crime in most cities and let’s faces it; it is very annoying to most of us. Anyone who has ever had their vehicle stolen or even broken into before can testify to the fact that this is an inconvenience that we never want to happen to us again. Let me define Auto theft for you. Auto theft is the theft of a motor vehicle. There also exists the term “Theft from Auto” which means items were taken from the vehicle but the vehicle was not necessarily stolen (just property).

 

Criminals steal cars usually for one of three reasons. The first reason would be the joy ride. This is done mainly by juveniles or young adults looking to ride around in a nice vehicle or any vehicle for that matter so they can travel from point A to point B. In most cases the thief does not care about the vehicle because it’s not theirs and will in turn drive it until it either runs out of gas, the police catch them or they wreck the vehicle making it not drivable anymore. hand in wondow stealing purseThe second reason for this crime would be for quick cash. The thief will either sell the vehicle to a unsuspecting third party for an unbeatable price or take the vehicle to a “chop shop” where they will also be paid a fee for the sale of the vehicle. The “chop shop” will in turn dismantle the vehicle and sell its parts making a substantial amount of profit from the sales. In some cases when dealing in high end cars the chop shop (if it’s a more professional one) will remove and change all the vehicles identification #’s ultimately making the vehicle untraceable to local police. They will then receive maximum returns for the sale of a used vehicle. The third usage for a stolen vehicle is simply for the commission of a crime. A thief will use the vehicle to commit a crime that he does not want to commit in his own vehicle and then get rid of the vehicle when he is done. Sometimes your vehicle will be found abandoned and in working order and other times the vehicle may be destroyed (usually by fire) to destroy all evidence of who has driven or occupied the vehicle during the commission of the crime.

Avoiding Auto Theft

broken windowLike most crimes against property, it there is not a 100% guarantee that you can avoid this happening to you. However, there are some steps you can take to place yourself and your vehicle at the bottom of the list when it comes to potential victims of Auto theft. One common auto theft method used, besides the normal break in and hotwire method, is owners leaving their vehicles unattended with the keys in the ignition. This is often done when people are warming their vehicle in the morning, “running in the store for just a minute” and many other similar excuses. Car thieves sit around stores and neighborhoods just waiting on people to make this mistake. It’s the easiest way for them to steal your vehicle. All the criminal has to do is time your movements and in less than 10 seconds your vehicle is gone. To avoid this it’s simple. Do not leave your vehicle unattended, EVER, with the keys in the ignition. Another way to avoid this type of theft is keep your keys on you at all times. Do not leave them in your purse or on a desk or anywhere that you could take your attention off of them long enough for a criminal to grab them. Also if you have spare keys, don’t leave the key easily accessible in your home. If someone breaks in your home one of the items burglars like to steal are keys, especially to vehicles. popping lockThey may not come back the next day but if they decide to follow-up later and want to steal your vehicle they will already have the keys. Again that would be making it too easy for them. Now, those are the mistakes we can make without thinking about it so let’s try to avoid handing our vehicle over to the criminal without making them work for it. Making them work for it means that the criminal has to literally break in your vehicle and get the car started on their own. This requires time for them. Even if some criminal are pretty fast at getting a car started, you still have a chance of them getting scared off if someone sees them or hears an alarm. This brings me to the alarm. You should definitely have an alarm on your vehicle. It is very hard to steal a vehicle when you’re constantly looking around to see if someone hears all the noise this alarm is making. Again, they might get the vehicle but we are not handing it over to them without a fight.

Adding More to the Fight

popping steering columnTo combat the idea of a car thief getting inside of your vehicle and hotwiring it with ease, here is something you can do. Educate yourself as to what it would take to get your car started without a key. You can do this by contacting your manufacturer or dealer and having them explain to how your vehicle can be started by a car thief with no key. And then ask them how you can protect yourself from this act. IF you are wondering what questions to ask, it would be questions like: “What devices can I install to block the sources of starting my vehicle?” or “Can I install a kill switch that would not allow my vehicle to start if my key is not present?” and there are others. It all depends on what kind of vehicle you have. Having a GPS system in place would also be a great resource so that if your vehicle is stolen it can be located and fast.

If Your Vehicle is Stolen

steering column #2If your vehicle is stolen, here are a few things that will help get the ball rolling in completing a police report. As a matter of fact, these items are almost necessary in an attempt to get your vehicle recovered in a timely manner. You should know your vehicle’s Identification Number (VIN), License Plate Number, Make and Model, # of doors on your vehicle, Color of your vehicle and in some cases how many cylinders your vehicle has. Also, you want to make note if the windows are tinted, if there are dents in obvious places, types of wheels and even torn seats or carpet. Overall, the best description you can give because if this vehicle happens to be stopped and officer might remember one little thing about the seats. Something like, “It had leather front seats and vinyl rear seats. Remember, sometimes car thieves will change the license plates and some officer’s won’t know the vehicle is stolen at first glance. A little extra information can go a long way.