Each year, more than a million vehicles are stolen in the United States-about one vehicle every 30 seconds.
Car thieves, like home burglars, generally have an easy time of it. Their thievery is made simple by car owners who obligingly leave doors unlocked (in four out of five cases of auto theft) or who leave keys in the ignition (in one out of five cases).
- Never leave your keys in an unattended car, even while running a quick errand, and always lock your car and pocket the keys.
- Potential car thieves often note identification numbers printed on ignition keys and can obtain duplicates through car dealers by presenting the key number, posing as the car’s owner. Car dealers or locksmiths can punch out these numbers from your keys, eliminating the problem. Before having this done, however, record these numbers in a safe place in case you need duplicates.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to a key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car-and your home. While you’re at it, leave only the ignition key with a parking attendant. A dishonest parking lot attendant may have house keys duplicated and sell them, along with your name and address, for a tidy profit.
- Avoid leaving an auto unattended in public parking lots for an extended period of time. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or an attended lot.
- At night, park in well-lighted areas with pedestrian traffic. Auto thieves don’t like working in spots where they are clearly visible.
- Whenever possible, turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking, making it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
- With an electric engraver, etch your operator’s license number on GPS Units, and on similar items. Consider engraving the same number in several places under the hood, on car doors, trunk lid or other conspicuous places so that a positive identification can be made of your vehicle if it is recovered after theft.
- Consider the purchase and installation of security devices, such as:
- Interior hood lock and release.
- A second ignition switch or “kill switch” which prevents electrical current from reaching the coil.
- A steering wheel lock.
- An alarm device which will activate a siren, horn or lights
- or all of these.
- When you park the car, remove CB, tape deck or other valuable possessions from the seat. These items tempt thieves and should be locked in the trunk.
- If your car gets stolen or vandalized, notify the Tufts Police immediately (see Contact Us). Please have the following information ready: your license plate number and state, the vehicle make, model, color, and year, the vehicle identification number, and also provide a list of distinctive features and special accessories and their serial numbers.
- Participate in the window etching program coordinated by the Tufts Police and in cooperation with the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force. You may save up to 15% on your comprehensive auto insurance by having the vehicle identification number chemically etched on all glass surfaces of your car. For more information, call the Community Policing office at (617) 627-3839 or visit the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force homepage.