Defense Against Crime

23/06/2011

Where did my car go?

You just came out of the mall with all of your packages and you can’t find your car. You thought you were in Lot K1, near Sears, but you do not see your car. You call the mall security to get help and can’t find the car. They go to review the parking lot video and notice that someone walked up to your car and did something out of sight of the camera, and after a few moments, drove your car away.

There have been several stories lately giving data or either popular cars or popular cities where cars are stolen. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report  -every year more than 790,000 cars, trucks, and SUVs are reported stolen in America at a cost of over $7.6 billion a year. That is the equivalent to one every 39 seconds. So I guess that popular about stealing cars needs to be re-titled.

Using these statistics, citizens like you can me can only expect to pay higher than normal automobile insurance if they own one of the most popular stolen cars in America. In fact, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute study, 10.8 out of every thousand 2008, 2009, and 2010 Cadillac Escalades made was reported stolen, broken into or had parts stolen right off of it while parked.

The Normal Victim

Was there anything in common with these crime victims? Consider these published facts from stolen car reports.

  • 50% of all stolen cars were unlocked at the time.
  • 15% percent of those cars even had their keys in the ignition.
  • 40% of all drivers keep valuables in plain sight on the front seat or on the dashboard of the vehicle.

Of all the cars that had been stolen, only 58% of car thefts are recovered and only 13% of reported stolen cars result in an arrest.

While these statistics may seem intimidating, the fact remains that most cars on the road are not stolen. Moreover using a little common sense and avoiding purchasing popular stolen cars can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of car theft.

Popular Cities for Stolen Cars

According to recent stolen car data, most professional thieves are active in California, since cars stolen there can either be transported to Mexico for sale or shipped out to Asia in containers through the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland. One of the factors that is helping more car thieves to take the risk, is the state and local budget problems in California which may be causing cutbacks in police and prosecutors specializing in car thefts.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 worst areas for car theft:

  1. Fresno, Calif.
  2. Modesto, Calif.
  3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
  4. Spokane, Wash.
  5. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
  6. Sacramento, Calif. Area
  7. Stockton, Calif.
  8. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
  9. San Francisco-Oakland,Calif.
  10. Yakima, Wash.

You may notice the absence of cities from the east like Washington, DC or Atlanta GA, or even Midwast cities like Chicago, IL. Don’t let your guard down because car thieves are also active in the Midwest and the East Coast. The second half of the top 20 list includes Laredo, TX, Detroit, MI, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Macon, Ga., and not surprisingly, the metro areas where cars are least likely to be stolen tend to be small cities in relatively rural parts of their states. Car theft in the worst city in the U.S. – Fresno, Calif. – is 27 times as frequent as in State College, Pa. – the city with the lowest car theft rate. Other small cities with low theft rates include Glenns Falls and Elmira, N.Y., Holland, Mich., Harrisonburg, W. Va., and Sheboygan, WI. If you want to see how you city rates in auto theft, consult the full rankings at the NICB web site.

You can reduce your chances

  1. Don’t Assume you will not be a target– But no matter where you live, it is your responsibility to take the steps necessary to secure your property from thieves. Don’t assume that just because you have an car so old that it has a name that no one wants to steal it. The list of most-stolen cars includes many older, mid-priced models. You can Google “Avoid These Most-Stolen Models.” The NICB study is based on information reported to the National Crime Information Center shows these top 10 stolen cars.
  • 1994 Honda Accord
  • 1995 Honda Civic
  • 1989 Toyota Camry
  • 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
  • 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
  • 2000 Dodge Caravan
  • 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  • 1994 Acura Integra
  • 1999 Ford Taurus
  • 2002 Ford Explorer
  • Don’t make your car appealing – Car theives – whether professional or amateur – are looking for the easiest marks. So they pass by vehicles that seem to defeat a quick grab. You can easily make your car one of those they are likely pass by for the For around $50, you can buy The Club or Portable Car Lock Alarm w/ Remote; for about $60, you can get a “tire claw” lock that will keep one wheel from moving. Such locks add to the difficulty and time it takes to steal your car or truck.
  • Make some Noise: For $30 to $1000, an auto electronics shop can install an alarm that will go off if the door is opened without a key. You can get a simple alarm or something like the VIPER system that talk when anyone comes near the car, Be sure to get a decal that announces the alarm. The ear-assaulting alarm noise won’t stop all car thieves – but, like The Club, it might encourage them to seek another target.
  • Stop your engines: Cars, trucks and SUVs from recent years have a built-in system that prevents the vehicle from starting unless the engine computer gets a signal from the precisely matched key. To approximate this in an older car, you can get professional installation of a so-called kill switch system such as the car Immobilizer (level one or level 3). This disrupts the circuitry of the engine unless the switch is turned on. The installer will hide the switch somewhere reachable from the driver’s seat but where thieves cannot quickly find it. Some of the newer systems come with a remote system.
  • Locks Locks Locks – There are other methods to secure your car
    • Fuel Kill Switch. The valve that halts the fuel supply is closed. Visible Steering Wheel Lock. Prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
    • Floorboard Locks. Devices that disable the gas or brake pedal.
    • Gearshift Locks. Disables shifting of the transmission.
    • Tire/Wheel Locks. Prevents the vehicle from moving.
    • Hood Locks. Prevents the thief from gaining access to your security system and battery.
    • Armored Collar Around Steering Column. Protects the column and ignition.
    • Vehicle Tracking -This is done with a transmitter like the Lo-JACK hidden in the car that allows police to track the vehicle.
  • A Good Dose of Common Sense – as mentioned above some people leave their cars unlock with the keys in there, and could have prevented the theft.
    • Lock Your Car.
    • Take Your Keys with you
    • Never Hide a Second Set of Keys on Your Car. Extra keys especially the magnetic boxes, can be easily found if a thief takes time to look.
    • Park in Well-lighted Areas. Over half of all vehicle thefts occur at night.
    • Park in Attended Lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
    • If You Park in an Attended Lot, Leave Only the Ignition/Door Key. If your trunk and glovebox use the same key as the door, have one of them changed. Don’t give the attendant easy access to your glovebox and trunk. Upon returning, check the tires, spare tire, and battery to be sure they are the same as those you had when you parked.
    • Never Leave Your Car Running, Even if You’ll Only be Gone For a Minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up. Several stolen cars have had children in the back seat.
    • Completely Close Car Windows When Parking. Don’t make it any easier for the thief to enter your vehicle.
    • Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain View. Don’t make your car a more desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight.
    • Park With Your Wheels Turned Toward the Curb. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels should also be turned to the side in driveways and parking lots.
    • If Your Vehicle is Rear-Wheel Drive, Back into Your Driveway. Rear wheels lock on four-wheel drive vehicles, making them difficult to tow. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front end first.
    • Always Use Your Emergency Brake When Parking. In addition to ensuring safety, using the emergency brake makes your car harder to tow.
    • If You Have a Garage, Use It. If you have a garage, take the time to use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable.
    • When parking in a Garage, Lock the Garage Door and Your Vehicle. By locking both the garage and vehicle doors, the chances of deterring a thief greatly improve.
    • Don’t EVER leave the registration or Title in Your Car. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title at your home or office, and carry registration in your purse or wallet.
    • Disable Your Vehicle When Leaving it Unattended for an Extended Period. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle anytime thieves may have extended access to it.
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Stolen cars/parts are more easily traced when vehicle VIN numbers have been etched on car windows and major parts. Most new cars have this done already

America’s most stolen cars

Here are the new cars that thieves target the most, according to an analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute. If you have one of these or the ones above, you may want to take extra care.

  1. Cadillac Escalade
  2. Chevrolet Silverado
  3. Dodge Charger
  4. Chevrolet Avalanche
  5. Infiniti G37 Coupe
  6. GMC Sierra Crew Cab
  7. Nissan Maxima
  8. Hummer H2
  9. GMC Yukon XL 4WD
  10. Chevrolet Tahoe

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PepperEyes.com is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable personal protection products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for yourself, your home or your business, buy our high quality discount personal protection products and arm yourself with the knowledge of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option. – Victor Swindell

 

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