The FBI’s just-released 2009 Uniform Crime Report shows that vehicle theft is once again down significantly from the previous year making 2009 the sixth consecutive year of reduced vehicle thefts. In 2008, 956,846 vehicles were reported stolen-the lowest annual total in over 20 years. For 2009 the number is even lower-794,616.
"Through the end of August this year there were 97,655 vehicles that were listed as stolen and not yet recovered," said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO.
"Of that number, only 38 percent had some kind of insurance coverage. So there are a lot of vehicles out there that are being stolen and the owner is left holding the bag with no vehicle and no money to buy another one."
"Even though the continuing decline in vehicle thefts is great news, if it happens to you it can be financially devastating and just an all-around hassle. That’s why the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) urges motorists to follow its "layered approach" to vehicle theft prevention. By employing these simple, low-cost suggestions people can make their vehicles less attractive to thieves."
NICB’s four layers of theft protection are:
- Common Sense: Lock your vehicle and take your keys. It’s simple enough but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their rides.
- Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
- Immobilizing Device: Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. "Kill" switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices, which are extremely effective.
- Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.
Some systems employ "telematics" which 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.