Preventing automobile theft

Graphic that reads "Motor vehicles thefts increased by more than 20% in 2022 compared to 2021 in Chicago".

Car theft is a significant concern that affects countless individuals and communities nationwide. Beyond financial loss, car theft can result in emotional distress and potentially even escalate to violent actions. Recently, it was reported that car theft has seen a dangerously high increase in Chicago over the past few years. From May 2022 to May 2023, more than 20,000 cars were reported stolen. This record-breaking theft total is reportedly a 70% increase of the 2020-2022 yearly averages. The COVID pandemic is believed to have played at least a partial role in many thefts, as early on, it had caused supply chain issues across most industries. On social media, videos detailing how specific models can be hotwired are also believed to play a role in this uptick.

Car theft takes a significant cost in many areas: Firstly, financially. The owner may be unable to get to work or other necessary places. If the thief continues operating the vehicle, the owner could be made to pay for parking tickets, red lights, speeding tickets, and unpaid tolls accrued by the thief. Secondly, a sense of security and peace of mind can be robbed of the community. While vehicle accidents are one-and-done, car thefts can repeatedly see the same perpetrators on the road. What can be especially devastating is that unless the theft involves a violent act, such as the driver being held at gunpoint, police often can do very little in these matters, as CPD policy prohibits the pursuit of simple auto theft.

Car theft continues to be a prevalent issue,with significant financial and emotional consequences. By implementing preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to car theft. Here are some effective strategies to prevent car theft:

Secure Your Vehicle:
Always lock your car, even if you’re making a quick stop.
Park in well-lit areas and utilize secure parking lots whenever possible.
Install a visible deterrent, such as a steering wheel lock or an immobilizer.

Utilize Technological Aids:
Install a car alarm system or a GPS tracking device, which can aid in locating your vehicle if it’s stolen.

Protect Your Keys:
Keep your car keys secure and avoid leaving them in obvious places, such as on a hook near the door or in the ignition.
If your vehicle has a keyless entry system, store the key fob in a signal-blocking pouch or a metal container to prevent relay attacks.

Be Mindful of Valuables:
Avoid leaving valuables visible inside the car, such as electronics or bags, as they attract thieves.
If you must store items in your vehicle, use the trunk or cover them with a blanket to keep them out of sight.

Community Vigilance:
Engage with your community and establish a neighborhood watch program to deter car thefts collectively.
Report suspicious activities promptly to local law enforcement.

Remember to remain vigilant, stay informed about current trends in car theft, and take proactive steps to protect your vehicle and ensure your safety.

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