Motor Vehicle Theft

Securing Your Vehicle, Be Alert

  • Lock your car. Take your keys.
  • Roll up windows completely.
  • Remove keys from ignition
  • Park in well-lighted areas.
  • When parking in attended lots or parking garages, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Park as close as possible to an open business.
  • Do not leave valuables in sight to tempt a thief.
  • If you have a garage, use it.
  • Lock your garage door.
  • When going out of town, if possible, remove the distributor cap or the coil wire.
  • Never leave your car running while it is unattended.
  • Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or protective devices like a club or a collar. Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
  • Do not hide a spare key in a magnetic key box ­ thieves know all the hiding places.
  • When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.

Identifying Your Car

  • Etch Vehicle Identification Numbers on window glass trim.
  • Engrave expensive accessories such as T-tops, radios, etc. with vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number.
  • Drop a business card into the doorframe.
  • If possible, retain copies of all vehicle paperwork at home in a safe place.
  • It is not a good practice to leave the original certificate of title in the vehicle. If the car is stolen, this title can be altered easily and/or your signature can be forged.

When Selling and Buying A Car

  • Be cautious of the low priced bargain car.
  • Beware of fast sell pressures.
  • Check the Vehicle Identification Number to see if it has been altered.
  • Be suspicious of fresh paint on a car.
  • Verify that the inspection sticker and the license tag are current and are from the same state.
  • Do not accept duplicate car keys.
  • Complete all paperwork at the time of the sale.
  • If you are selling a car, never allow a person to test drive the vehicle alone.
  • Ask to see an interested buyer's driver's license, and write down the name, address, driver's license number, etc.
  • Make certain the driver's door contains a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard label. This label is often called a Mylar sticker, and it contains the Vehicle Identification Number. Law requires presence of the label.

Anti-Theft Devices

They stop the amateur and slow down the professional. Anti-theft devices are not foolproof, but they can stop the amateur and slow down the professional. The longer it takes to steal a car, the more attention the thief attracts, and the more likely the thief will look elsewhere. Anti-theft devices include those listed below:

  1. Kill Switch: The car will not start unless a hidden switch is activated. The switch prevents electrical current from reaching the coil or carburetor. Please check the warranty before installing one of these switches. Some warranties prohibit installation of these devices, and doing so nullify the warranty. In such cases, there is a possibility that a Starter Bypass Switch could be used without affecting the warranty.
  2. Alarm Systems: These systems contain a device that will activate a siren, lights, or horn if the car is tampered with. Consider a backup power source for the alarm, as professionals could deactivate the alarm if they get to the power source. Keys or code numbers to the alarm should never be given to parking lot attendants or valets. (Do not try to fool a thief with an alarm decal when no alarm exists.)
  3. Fuel Switch: This device stops the fuel supply.
  4. Armored Collar: This equipment consists of a metal shield that locks around the steering column and covers the ignition, the starter rods, and the steering wheel interlock rod.
  5. Locking Gas Cap.
  6. Crook Lock: This lock is a long metal bar that has a hook on each end to lock the steering wheel to the brake pedal.
  7. Chain and Lock: These devices should be used to secure motorcycles and motor scooters.
  8. Keyless Entry Systems.
  9. LoJack System: A monitoring device that emits a signal that can be tracked by participating law enforcement agencies should the vehicle be stolen and entered into NCIC.

Anti-theft devices may cost a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Some of these devices are now standard or optional equipment offered by auto manufacturers and most insurance companies give discounts if they are on the vehicle.