Safety Tips for National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

By Andy Fiedler, Service Manager, Larry H. Miller Volkswagen Lakewood ~

Auto-related thefts – large and small – have been reported in increasing numbers and garnered more attention in the last several years. It’s rattling when you’re the victim of theft or damages related to a burglary. It seems everyone knows someone who, unfortunately, has been a victim of an uptick in criminal, auto-related activity.

This is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and everyone should make a concerted effort to combat the trajectory of auto-related thefts. You can do your part simply by being informed and sharing information. 

Every July, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asks the public to be more vigilant about auto-related theft. Data from 2020 shows more than three-quarters of a million motor vehicles – including passenger cars, trucks, and multipurpose vehicles – were stolen in the United States, which cost vehicle owners more than $7 billion. Notably:

  • Passenger cars made up more than 74% of all stolen motor vehicles; 
  • Only 56.4% of all stolen motor vehicles were recovered; 
  • There were 804,400 motor vehicles stolen, an 11.8% increase from 2019; and
  • A motor vehicle was stolen every 39 seconds.

And, it’s not just vehicles being stolen. Now we’re seeing an increase in valuable parts being taken from cars. There has been a rash of catalytic converter thefts in recent years, and it has become a concern for communities across the front range and beyond. It has been so pervasive, in fact, that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed two bills addressing the issue. Senate Bill 9 will require auto parts recyclers to engage a national database to determine if a catalytic converter in their possession has been stolen, and House Bill 1217 establishes a $300,000 grant program to help raise awareness about the issue through campaigns and other public efforts. 

Unfortunately, we are also seeing a nationwide rise in gas poaching. Gas prices have never been higher, and as a result, we’ve seen an increase in criminals drilling holes into gas tanks to steal gasoline. This is yet another costly repair that no one should need to shoulder – but far too many have to. 

Together, as a community, we can take action to protect ourselves. Here are some safety and prevention tips:

    • Park in well-lit areas. 
    • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. 
    • Hide valuables out of sight, such as in the glove box or trunk.
  • Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running. 
  • Utilize a steering wheel lock, such as a “club”

Use these tips and other common-sense tactics to help ensure you and your family keep your vehicles safe and in working condition.

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