Safety Tips for National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

by Andy Fiedler

Service Manager, Larry H. Miller Volkswagen Lakewood

Auto-related thefts, large and small, have been reported in ever-increasing numbers and have garnered more attention in recent years. It’s rattling when you’re the victim of theft or damage related to a theft. It seems everyone knows someone who has unfortunately fallen victim to an uptick in auto-related criminal activity.

Andy Fielder

This is National Auto Theft Prevention Month, and everyone should make a concerted effort to combat the trajectory of auto-related theft. You can do your part simply by being informed and sharing information.

Every July, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asks the public to be extra vigilant about car-related thefts. 2020 data shows that more than three-quarters of a million motor vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, and multi-use vehicles, were stolen in the United States, costing vehicle owners more than $7 billion.

And it’s not just about stolen vehicles. We are now seeing an increase in the extraction of valuable parts from automobiles. There has been a wave of catalytic converter thefts in recent years, and it has become a concern for communities across the front lines and beyond. It has been so widespread that Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed two bills addressing the problem. Senate Bill 9 will require auto parts recyclers to contract with a national database to determine if a catalytic converter in their possession has been stolen, and House Bill 1217 establishes a $300,000 grant program to help to raise awareness of the issue through campaigns and other public efforts.

Unfortunately, we are also seeing a nationwide increase in gasoline poaching. Gas prices have never been higher and as a result we have seen an increase in criminals drilling into gas tanks to steal gas. This is another expensive repair that no one should have to take on, but many do.

Together, as a community, we can take steps to protect ourselves. Here are some safety and prevention tips:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Keep your valuables.
  • Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave the area while your vehicle is moving.
  • Remember to lock your vehicle every time you drive away to prevent vehicle theft.

Use these tips and other common sense tactics to make sure you and your family keep your vehicles safe and in good working order.

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