Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designates July as Vehicle Theft Prevention month. Through Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, the agency highlights the preventive measures vehicle owners should take, the importance of addressing the vehicle theft problem, and its significant economic impact. According to the NHTSA, more than 1 million motor vehicles were stolen in 2022, with more than 250,000 reported to law enforcement during the fourth quarter alone. Historically, passenger cars made up approximately 74% of all stolen motor vehicles. In fact, a motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds in the United States.
ISRI has been active for decades in helping deter metals and catalytic converter theft on the law enforcement and legislative fronts. In 2022 vehicles thefts cost owners more than $8 billion. ISRI’s Director of Law Enforcement Outreach Todd Foreman, who is a retired police chief and works daily with law enforcement partnerships across the country, has some tips to be mindful of to help protect your vehicle from theft or damage.
“Overall, every individual should always be aware of where they are parking and protect their vehicles by securing the keys and parking in safe areas,” said Todd. “Continually being aware of your surroundings is an important part of safety.”
Todd suggests the following for preventing vehicle theft:
- Always lock your doors when you are not in the vehicle.
- Don’t leave your keys in the vehicle or an extra key around the vehicle.
- Keep your windows closed.
- Park in a well-lit area so your vehicle is easily observed.
- Use car alarms that are audible.
- Don’t keep valuables in vehicles.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Protect your key fobs and don’t hang them in your home near your doors. Faraday bags or boxes are encouraged to keep keys safe while your car is parked.
Part of Todd’s work is building awareness and usage of ISRI’s two metals theft and catalytic converter websites, stopmetalstheft.org and scraptheftalert.com. The following tips are useful to deterring catalytic converter theft:
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Park in locked and secure garages.
- Install motion lights and cameras.
- Paint and engrave your catalytic converters.
Utilizing these precautions can help lessen the impact of vehicle theft on our daily lives. Visit the Vehicle Theft Prevention Month website for additional information.