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Protecting your car from theft

Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles.

Photo by Carlo D'Agnolo from

A preliminary analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau in the US shows auto theft took a dramatic leap upward in 2020 compared to 2019, reversing two years of auto theft declines.

According to its initial study, there were 873,080 auto thefts in 2020, a 9.2% increase over 2019 which had 799,644 thefts, a boost of more than 73,000 thefts.

According to the findings, every month in 2020 showed increases compared to 2019. Overall, the yearly increase was 9.2 percent, however each month from June through December showed double digit gains.

In response to the increase in auto thefts, the NICB created a new public service announcement highlighting steps people can take to reduce the chances of having their car stolen.

Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles. NICB recommends drivers follow four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft.

  1. Common sense. Vehicle owners should always remove keys from the ignition, lock doors and windows, and park in well-lit areas.
  2. Warning devices. These include visible and audible alarms. Aftermarket alarms are available for all makes and models of cars. Visual devices include column collars, steering wheel locks, and brake locks.
  3. Immobilizing devices. The third layer of protection prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are smart keys; fuse cut-offs; kill switches; starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers; and wireless ignition authentication.
  4. Tracking devices. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

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