5 tips to help prevent vehicle theft
Vehicle thefts are on the rise nationwide. Find out how you can avoid becoming a victim of this costly crime.
Vehicle thefts are on the rise across the country. Nationwide, 932,329 vehicles were reported stolen to law enforcement in 2021, a 6% increase over 2020, and a 17% increase since 2019, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance claims information reflects this national trend. In 2021, 475 vehicles were reported stolen by our insureds. That’s up from 2020 (which saw 444 thefts) and 2019 (313 thefts).
Of all stolen vehicles in Kentucky, the most stolen—by far—are full-size pick-ups. In 2020, 497 Ford full-size pickups were reported stolen in the entire state, followed closely by Chevrolet full-size pickups (488 reported stolen).
Did you know that, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), less than 60% of stolen vehicles are recovered? But research has found that nearly half of all vehicle thefts can be prevented. Consider the following precautionary measures to help you from becoming a victim:
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Always take your keys with you, even if you’re just planning to be gone for a few minutes.
- When leaving your vehicle for any amount of time, roll up your windows and lock your doors.
- Keep your doors locked, even when your car is in “drive.” In recent years, carjacking has become a concerning trend—especially in major cities. If someone attempts to steal your car while you are in the driver seat, do not resist. Your life cannot be replaced, but a vehicle can.
- Remove valuables from the vehicle or place them in the trunk. Remember, just because you don’t consider something valuable doesn’t mean it won’t catch a thief’s attention.
- If you don’t have a garage at home, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, they could scare off a potential thief.
- During winter months—unless you have a remote start—avoid the temptation to warm your car up. In fact, it’s illegal to leave a running car unattended in Kentucky (unless you have a keyless starter system). Cold weather is prime time for “warm-up theft,” leaving tens of thousands of people nationwide the victim of vehicle theft every year.
- Many newer model vehicles come equipped with anti-theft systems. If you have an older model that lacks security features, consider adding a visible or audible anti-theft device to your vehicles, such as an alarm system, steering column lock, or theft deterrent decals. Some vehicle owners even choose to add a tracking system, which can track the location of a car and significantly improve the odds of it being recovered faster and with less damage.
- If your vehicle has been stolen, contact police immediately to increase the chance of recovery. Once you have a police report in hand, provide a copy of that report to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
According to NICB, the U.S. is seeing the highest vehicle theft numbers since 2008, with no hopes for a downward trend anytime soon. Stay vigilant and you can help prevent this costly theft from occurring!
>> We want you to be safe out there on the road… but accidents still happen. At Kentucky Farm Bureau, we’ve got agents in all 120 counties. Click to find one near you.