Take, for example, the 2016 Toyota Camry, one of the most frequently stolen vehicles; it has 15 commonly replaced parts that are valued at about $11,000. Another one of the top stolen vehicles, the 2016 Nissan Altima, has 14 standard parts valued at more than $14,000, including a headlamp assembly that retails for over $1,000.
Even if you don’t drive one of the vehicles most preferred by thieves, don’t assume that your car is safe. Here are some ways GEICO recommends to help you protect your vehicles:
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving.
- When parked, never leave your keys in the car. Close all the windows and the sunroof.
- Never leave your car running and unattended, including at gas stations and in your own driveway.
- Do not leave your vehicle title in the car. Too often car thieves are pulled over and get away from police because they can produce the auto registration.
- Look around and be aware of your surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots and gas stations.
- Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one.
- Have your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on each of the windows. Car thieves don’t want to go to the expense of replacing all the glass.
Most importantly, never resist if confronted by a carjacker; while cars are replaceable, you are not.
After experiencing a steady decline in the early 2000s, auto thefts have seen an uptick. In 2015, there were just under 708,000 vehicle thefts nationwide. There were more than 750,000 in 2016. Preliminary FBI figures indicate that thefts rose another 4 percent in 2017.