2013 SJ Auto Thefts Reach 6,200: What can you do?
Like other property crimes in San Jose, according to KTVU 2 there have been 6,200 auto-thefts so far this year and by the end of the year that number is expected to climb to 7,440 cars stolen from San Jose streets and driveways. That’s 20 cars per day and many of those thefts could have been prevented.
Please be aware that car thieves are on the prowl looking for easy targets and as the number of police officers continues to decline, the deterrent presence of these patrol officers in our neighborhoods is negatively impacted. Protect San Jose has these basic tips for our loyal readers that will help reduce the number of car thefts in San Jose.
1. When not at home, park your car in well-lit, attended areas. Lights and people will deter most car thieves and vandals. When at home, park in your driveway or garage if you have one.
2. Keep the windows rolled up and sunroofs closed, and always lock your car, even if it’s parked at your house.
3. Around 90% of all stolen autos are hotwired. What about the other 10% you ask? Well, they’re stolen with ease – no hotwiring needed - because the cars were either running or the keys were left in the car. Always remove the keys when you leave the vehicle, and never leave your car running unless you're in the driver's seat. Many cars have been stolen when the owners left them running to warm up, or briefly stepped away, even for less than a minute. And in case you didn’t know, insurance companies have rejected claims for theft, or attempted theft, when the keys were left in the ignition or in the vehicle.
4. Avoid leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially where they are visible through the windows. Keep bags and packages out of sight and make sure things like stereo equipment are theft protected. I’m always amazed when a client calls in panic because their car was broken into. “My laptop is gone!” “My purse is gone!” “My shopping bags with all my new clothes are gone!” “My tools are gone!” You get the point. Don’t give a thief the opportunity to steal your personal items. If you leave the dog a bone, don’t act surprised when he takes it!
5. Consider buying an anti-theft device that is visible to the thief. Steering wheel clubs and pedal locks are enough to cause most casual thieves to move on. Most thieves are looking for a car they can steal quickly, and they will avoid a car that looks like it will be an extra hassle. If you have an alarm installed, make sure it’s visible or clearly labeled on the windows.
6. Keep in mind when purchasing a new car that some makes and models have a higher incidence of theft than others. Last year the top 10 stolen cars were: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Dodge Caravan, Nissan Sentra, Ford F-150 series, Acura Integra, Toyota Pickups, Dodge Ram Pickup, and the Saturn SL
7. When parking your car in a place where you’ll be leaving it for a while, park with the front facing in instead of backing in. This will make it harder for thieves to have the car towed or taken by trailer, if they can’t get the car started.
8. Be aware of a strategy some thieves are using. They will rear-end your car at a slow speed, to cause minimum damage. When you get out of the car to check for damage and to talk to the other driver, a passenger will get out of the other car and drive off in yours. Be very aware of your surroundings if this happens. If it’s dark outside, or if you aren’t visible to other people, avoid getting out of your car. Consider your safety first. Call the police and wait.
9. Keep car registration and insurance cards with you instead of in your glove box, so thieves can’t produce these documents if stopped by police.
10. Some ignition keys have a number etched on them. The number identifies the type of key. Thieves can use this number to get a key made that will start your car. All they have to do is get a look at your key, copy the number and then put your keys back before you are aware. Think of all the people who have access to your keys: auto mechanics, oil change services and valet parking just to name a few. Take your ignition keys to a locksmith or your dealer and have the number removed. Make sure you write the number down first and keep it for your records.
11. It's amazing how easy it is for thieves to steal cars... especially newer cars. All they have to do is copy the VIN number. They can easily get that by looking through the windshield. Then walk into a dealership and buy a key. It's just that simple. They prey off the good will of the dealership by acting as a needy customer who lost their key, and then they get the key directly from the dealer. Auto manufacturers are working on a solution, but what can you do until then to protect your car? Well it's as simple as a piece of paper. Place a piece of paper over your VIN number. The VIN located in the bottom corner of the windshield in the driver’s side. It's technically illegal to cover your VIN number when your car is being operated, but the experts say when you park your car, place a piece of paper on the dashboard, covering the VIN number. When you're ready to drive the car, remove the paper. It's cheap insurance to protect your VIN number from the crooks who want it.
These tips were copied from the following website: