July is Vehicle Prevention Month. According to Safercar.gov a car is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States. The estimated total value of vehicles stolen is more than $4.5 BILLION! Also, nationally, nearly 45% of vehicles stolen are never recovered.
Those are some scary statistics! The good news is, that half of all vehicle theft is due to driver error. This means we can do something about it! Most of the following items to take into account will take less than a minute to even complete to ensure your car is right where you left it.
- Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. I know during the summer months, it's tempting to leave windows open to cut down on the stifling heat, but studies show you'll be safer in the long run if you close and lock them!
- Park in well lit areas. Also park in busier areas, rather than secluded areas.
- Never leave your car while it's running. I know it's tempting to leave it running when you know you are going to be very quick, especially with the heat of summer, you want your car to stay cool. A vehicle can be stolen so quick. In the winter, it seems like we always hear stories of people who have left their car warming up, while they finish getting ready, only to find their vehicle is gone when they are ready to leave!
- Never leave your keys or valuables in your car. If you must, be sure they are out of sight.
- Keep your car in your garage if possible. You know the old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind."
- Have an anti-theft device on your vehicle. We've all heard those annoying car alarms that go off at the most inopportune times, but they help.
Finally, if you happen to be the victim of vehicle theft, know what steps you should take.
- Call the police. Let them know what has happened, and they can start looking for your car.
- Call the insurance company. You want to make sure that any damage done will be covered.
- If you find your car before the police, be sure to call them, and the insurance company and let them know the good news.
More good news is Utah is not among the top 10 states for vehicle theft. We live in a really good area, yet we still need to be careful and take precautions. Enjoy your summer, by taking a couple of extra minutes to ensure the safety of your car.