Preventing auto crime

Learn about the opportunities thieves look for and what you can do to protect yourself from auto crime.

Thieves look for opportunities

Older vehicles are easier targets

Older vehicles are easier targets because they are less likely to have the most effective security features.

Older vehicles tend to have weaker door locks and are less likely to have electronic engine immobilizers installed (only as of September 1, 2007 were all cars, vans, light trucks and SUVs required to have anti-theft engine immobilizers at the time of manufacture).

Top 10 items stolen from vehicles

Remember that what’s in your vehicle is also at risk. According to police reports, these items are the most popular:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Personal electronics—tablets, laptops, iPods, GPS
  3. Work tools
  4. Credit cards and identification
  5. Stereo equipment
  6. Cash and change
  7. Car parts and accessories
  8. Garage door openers
  9. Sunglasses
  10. Keys​​

Top 10 stolen vehicles

According to police reports, the following were the most popularly stolen vehicles in 2014:

  1. Honda Civic/CRX
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Ford F350
  4. Acura Integra
  5. Ford F-150XLT
  6. Ford F250 Supercab
  7. Dodge Caravan
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. Toyota Camry
​ ​

​What you can do​

Don’t give thieves a chance:

  • Never leave your keys unguarded, such as at the gym or in a restaurant. According to police data, approximately one in five vehicles are stolen using the owner’s keys, so be sure to keep them on you or locked in a secure place.
  • Park in secure, well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic. Always lock doors and close windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a few minutes.
  • Remove possessions from your vehicle—shopping bags, tools, spare change, electronics, brief cases, etc. Put anything that could tempt a thief in the trunk.
  • Wait for garage door gates to close behind you so thieves don’t have a chance to get in the parkade.
  • Keep your garage door opener out of sight.
  • If you have an older vehicle, use an anti-theft device, such as an electronic engine immobilizer or steering wheel lock.
  • Don’t store a spare or valet key in your vehicle.

Use anti-theft devices

​​Electronic immobilizers are anti-theft devices that cut off power to a vehicle’s fuel, starter, or ignition system when not in use.

Vehicle alarms will draw attention to would-be thieves with sirens, beeps and other loud noises. Some systems will also trigger flashing lights.

Steering wheel locks are good vi​sual deterrents. However, they may not be enough protection if your vehicle has a moderate to high risk of being stolen.