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US Car Stolen Every 44 Seconds

Car thiefCars being stolen in the U.S. are a major epidemic. A car is stolen every 44 seconds, according to the FBI. Most of us worry about the possibility of our car being stolen and the statistics are alarming. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that only 52% of stolen vehicles are ever recovered.

Stolen cars are an especially large problem in areas near Mexico and Canada and communities that have port cities. In South Florida, cars were stolen and taken out of the country through ports in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. The car could be stolen, driven into a giant transport container and loaded on to a cargo ship in minutes.

However, security at ports has been increased to a point where this is becoming less of a problem. In 2011 the top two stolen vehicles were the 1994 Honda Accord and 1998 Honda Civic.  The truth is that older cars are easier to steal and owners may be more likely to be inattentive.

Vehicles are almost always stolen for profit. A small percentage are stolen for use in criminal activities but the most lucrative use for a stolen vehicle is to disassemble it for parts. I once saw a demonstration where a vehicle was stripped in less than five minutes and the value of the parts was several times more than the value of the vehicle as a whole. So your vehicle can be stolen and stripped before you even know it is gone.

80% of All Drivers Overpay for Insurance. Do You? Start Saving Now. So what can you do to avoid a car from being stolen? Statistics show that 40-50% of auto thefts are a result of driver error, which means that the vehicle was not locked, the key was left in the vehicle or the vehicle was left running. Have you ever done that? I know I have but the only time I have ever had a car stolen was a rental car taken from valet parking.

There was a lot of activity in front of the hotel and I left the vehicle with the keys in it. Before the valet could get to the car, someone just got in the car and drove away — Very easy way to steal a vehicle and the thieves have the keys so there is no need to damage the ignition to start the car.

There are hundreds of security systems for cars but the fact is that after years of listening to car alarms that are triggered by everything short of a dog barking, most people pay little attention to an alarm. Comprehensive insurance covers car thefts. In some cases, alarms may be a deterrent but they can be easily disabled and a professional car thief will have the car stolen in seconds.

So the best advice is to always lock your vehicle, park it in a well lighted area, never leave the keys in the car and if you are valet parking, make sure you see the valet take possession of the car before you walk away so you don’t become the next victim in 44 seconds.