2017-05-17 / News

Help prevent auto theft: Drivers reminded to ‘Lock it or Lose it’

LAPEER — With warmer weather comes another potential opportunity for vehicle theft because of an open window or unlocked door. A vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the United States, and nearly half of those thefts occur because a door was unlocked or the keys were left in the ignition.

Lessen the likelihood you will be a victim of auto theft by:

• Closing all windows when your vehicle is parked;

• Turning your vehicle off if unattended;

• Avoiding leaving valuables inside your vehicle, especially where they can be seen;

• Parking in well-lit areas or a garage, if possible;

• Keeping exterior lights on at night;

• Installing a car alarm or theft deterrent device like a steering wheel lock or gear shift column lock

Knowing what to look for and avoid can help protect you too:

• 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 online, 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 private 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.

For more than a decade, 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 3,614 stolen vehicles and parts worth approximately $38 million.

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