Vehicle Theft Top of Mind in July - NHTSA Shares Common Sense Deterrents



In 2013, there were nearly 700,000 motor vehicles reported stolen in the United States—that’s a vehicle stolen every 45 seconds. Nearly 45 percent of these vehicles are never recovered. The estimated total value of vehicles stolen nationwide is approximately $4.1 billion.  Compounding this problem is the escalating cost of new vehicles and the high cost of vehicle repair.  It is not uncommon for a vehicle that is recovered to need thousands of dollars in repairs due to abuse or being involved in a crash.

Nearly half of vehicle theft is due to driver error, such as leaving your keys in the vehicle. Use common sense when you park by:

  • Always taking your keys and not leaving them in or on your vehicle
  • Closing windows and locking doors
  • Parking in well-lit areas
  • Never leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
  • Never leaving the area while your vehicle is running

Fleet vehicles are also major targets for theft, ranging from small items like tools and equipment to major cargo theft. Many of the same deterrents for personal use vehicles can also protect fleet. However, special consideration should be made for protecting fleet items that can include security dash lights, steering wheel locks and window static decals indicating an anti-theft device.

There are several different types of antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal or easier to trace and recover. Here’s how some of them work:

Audible and visible prevention systems deter theft by bringing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter your vehicle, such as a horn alarm. Visible devices create a visual threat/warning/deterrence, such as the use of steering-wheel locks—as well as theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching.

Kill switch devices prevent thieves from bypassing your vehicle’s ignition system and hot‑wiring the vehicle. Some incorporate computer chips in ignition keys or disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.

Telematics systems use electronic transmission technology that helps law enforcement reveal the location of stolen vehicles—and possibly catch thieves in action.

Top Ten States for Vehicle Theft (MY 2012 vehicles stolen in CY 2012)

 1. California6. Illinois 
 2. Florida7. New Jersey 
 3. Texas8. North Carolina 
 4. New York9. Ohio 
 5. Georgia10. Nevada 

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle has been stolen, follow these steps:

Contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report.

In the case of interstate theft of commercial vehicles, contact the FBI and if a member of a vehicle cargo theft prevention agency such as CargoNet.

You need to provide the following information:
License plate number; make, model and color of car; and VIN and any identifying characteristics.

Don’t let car thieves outsmart you. Common sense vehicle protection measures can make a world of difference for you and your fleet operation. Read Leading Insights to Reduce Cargo Theft to learn more about keeping thieves at bay and containing your costs. 

Contact a HUB Transportation expert to discuss safety measures for fleet.

*Source data: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration