One vehicle is stolen every 21 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money - and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They're also often used to commit other crimes.
The Basic Prevention Policy
Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it's in front of your home.
Carry the registration and insurance card with you. Don't leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.
Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight. Buy radios, tape, and CD players that can be removed and locked in the trunk.
Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you're away from it, even for just a minute.
When you pay to park in a lot or garage, leave just the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no personal information is attached. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.
Add Extra Prevention
Etch the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the windows, doors, fenders, and trunk lid. This helps discourage professional thieves who have to either remove or replace etched parts before selling the car. Copy the VIN and your tag number on a card and keep it in a safe place. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information.
Install a mechanical locking device - commonly called clubs, collars, or j-bars - that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees.
Investigate security systems if you live in a high-theft area or drive an automobile that's an attractive target for thieves. You may get a discount on your auto insurance.