The U.S. Department of Transportation has designated July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention month and, as many Puget Sound resident’s know, car theft or car break-ins are on the rise.

So, what does an individual do to stop this? Won’t the thieves just take what they want anyways?

To a degree, yes. However, proper preparation can lead to a decrease in car crimes.

A vehicle is stolen ever 44 seconds in the US, with up to 50-percent of thefts due to owner errors, according to the USDOT, with a good mix of common and exotic cars as the top stolen cars in the US.

1) Dodge Charger
2) Mitsubishi Galant
3) Cadillac STS
4) Lamborghini Gallardo
5) Hyundai Accent
6) Chevy Impala
7) Chevy HHR
8) Chevy Aveo
9) Nissan Infiniti FX35
10) Nissan GT-R

I write blotters from the Kenmore and Bothell police logs and, like clockwork, some owner has left their vehicle unlocked or their garage door open and are surprised when their vehicle has been stolen or ransacked. However, owners do have some power and some ability to prevent vehicle thefts.

  1. Take your key; don’t leave it in or on your vehicle
  2. Close and lock all windows and doors when you park
  3. Park in well-lit areas – in a garage, if possible
  4. Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and especially not in sight
  5. If warranted, invest in a vehicle alarm (air horns attached may scare off potential thieves…)

Thieves will pilfer for technology and parts from the vehicles; including the engine, transmission, radios and GPS units, and any extra-technology in the vehicle, such as laptops or purses with phones or money inside.

So, what can you do to keep your vehicle safe? Hide everything and always lock your doors. Even if the worst does happen, you will know you’ve done your best to keep things safe.

For more information, please visit the Fast Lane Blog of the Department of Transportation or the National Highway Transportation Safety Association.