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Preventing Your Vehicle from Getting Stolen

How to Deter Car Theft

Vehicle thefts and carjackings have jumped 17 percent from 2019 to 2021 and plagued many cities nationwide. According to new data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), almost half a million vehicles were stolen during the first half of this year, amounting to about $4.5 billion worth of losses. NICB estimates that about 100,000 more cars will be stolen by the end of this year, fueled partly by social media posts, strained resources, and economic stress.

Auto theft specialists said criminals target vehicles deemed easy marks, such as older models with no anti-theft technology or those with fobs or keys in visible sight. However, police said car thieves are now more tech-savvy and can steal a vehicle using electronic tools that won’t damage locks, windows, or steering columns.

The Most Stolen Vehicles

Kia and Hyundai models are especially vulnerable, as online videos have exposed how to bypass their engine immobilizer systems. The engine immobilizer is an anti-theft system that prevents vehicles from starting without using the key. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Kia and Hyundai thefts have matched those of luxury SUVs and muscle cars. A study on insurance claims by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat model year from 2018 to 2022 was the most stolen vehicle. However, theft claims were almost doubled for Kia and Hyundai 2015-2019 model-year cars.

IIHS said many Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack the standard equipment that prevents criminals from bypassing the ignition. A Kia spokesperson said while all vehicles meet or exceed federal motor safety regulations, no car can be made theft-proof. Thieves look for vehicles equipped with a turn-to-start ignition system.

Other most stolen vehicles in America include:

  • Honda Civic
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford F-150
  • Honda Accord

No matter what brand vehicle you drive, follow the safety tips below to keep your car from becoming a target. The key to deterring theft is making your automobile seem more trouble than it is worth.

Parking Smarter 

Adding these habits to your daily routine can protect your vehicle from criminals. Never leave your unattended car running or unlocked, and try to park in well-lit or busy areas. Police say most car thefts result from unlocked vehicle doors. Double-check that you have the fob or key, and put your valuables out of sight to ward off smash-and-grab incidents.

Adding an Alarm System or Wheel Lock 

Police say having a steering wheel lock like Disklok and The Club or an aftermarket alarm system with a blinking red light work well as deterrents for older vehicles.

Depending on the vehicle system’s features, an alarm system can cost between $300 to $700, plus an additional $200 to $600 for professional installation.

Installing Lights and Doorbell Cameras at Home

Lighting can be an effective theft deterrent if you park in your driveway. Motion detection lights can startle a thief and alert everyone at home.

Doorbell cameras are effective as they can help police identify criminals. Keep your car keys in the house and never leave them in your car or in the garage.

Tracking Your Vehicle

Although tracking systems won’t prevent your car from getting stolen, they can help locate it. Simple GPS devices plugged into your vehicle’s computer port can easily be removed. More elaborate, integrated systems require professional installation.

Some recent vehicle models provide tracking through a subscription-based service. For instance, GM’s OnStar vehicles offer a stolen-car assistance plan for $30 per month.

Saving on Auto Insurance

Some insurance com­panies offer discounts for vehicles with anti-theft devices. A vehicle with GPS tracking, an alarm, and an ignition kill switch that prevents the car from starting can often qualify for a discount. The discount varies based on the insurance company and where you live.

Watch YouTube Video: Top 10 Most Stolen Cars and How to Prevent Car Theft. The following video lists the 10 most stolen cars in the United States and provides tips on protecting your vehicle from being stolen.

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