Prevent Auto Theft: Drivers Reminded to 'Lock It or Lose It'

Contact: Spl/F/Lt. Scott Woodard, Executive Director, ATPA, 989-284-5118

July 6, 2017

A vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States, and surprisingly nearly half of those thefts occur because a door was unlocked or the keys were left in the ignition.

In addition to locking your vehicle and taking your keys with you, there are many other precautions you can take to lessen the likelihood you will be a victim of auto theft, including: 

  • Closing windows when your vehicle is parked
  • Avoiding leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
  • Leaving your vehicle running unattended
  • Parking in well-lit areas
  • Keeping your vehicle in your garage, if possible
  • Keeping exterior house lights on at night
  • Installing a car alarm or using a theft deterrent device like a steering wheel lock or gear shift column lock

Below are some current trends that may be occurring in your neighborhood:

  • Wheel and tire theft - Watch for suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood that may be scoping out the area.  Report suspicious and out-of-place persons to law enforcement.
  • Vehicle sale scams - If you are purchasing or selling a vehicle on Craigslist, make the transaction at a Secretary of State’s office during business hours or at a police department.  Don’t invite strangers to your home or meet them in non-public places.
  • Fraudulent vehicle titles - If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Inspect the vehicle title closely before purchase and if anything looks odd, postpone the sale until you can confirm the legitimacy of the title.

Over the last 10 years, Michigan’s Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) has assisted in the reduction of motor vehicle thefts in Michigan by 56 percent. The ATPA awards grants to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and non-profit organizations for the investigation, apprehension, prosecution and prevention of motor vehicle thefts. During the 2016 grant year, ATPA grant-funded motor vehicle theft teams recovered 6,614 stolen vehicles and parts worth approximately $38 million.

For more information about the ATPA, visit www.michigan.gov/atpa.