NHTSA Vehicle Theft Prevention - What

NHTSA Vehicle Theft Prevention - What
VEHICLE
THEFT
PREVENTION
What Consumers Should Know
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VEHICLE
THEFT
PREVENTION
What Consumers Should Know
Motor vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for most
Americans, and often an indispensible part of their lives. They are
used for a myriad of reasons, including going to work, school and
the grocery store. But what would happen if that vehicle suddenly
disappeared? Many would find it difficult, if not impossible, to take
care of even the simplest everyday errands.
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) establishes, implements and enforces
vehicle antitheft regulations. NHTSA has set the standard to help
consumers and vehicle owners address the vehicle theft problem
for more than 25 years.
To learn more about NHTSA’s vehicle theft prevention laws and regulations, visit SaferCar.gov/theft.
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Which Vehicles are Most at Risk?
You might think that the most stolen vehicles are expensive sports vehicles or multi-purpose passenger vehicles, but that’s not
always the case. In fact, according to the FBI’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report, nearly 74% of all motor vehicles reported stolen are
passenger cars.
According to NHTSA’s theft rate data, there were a total of 9,001,856 Model Year 2010 vehicles produced in calendar year
2010—and 10,568 were stolen. Of those stolen, 8,736 were passenger cars, 1,689 were multipurpose passenger vehicles and
143 were light-duty trucks.
The top 10 vehicles from NHTSA’s 2010 theft rate data compilation are:
1
Dodge Charger
6
Mitsubishi Galant
2
Pontiac G6
7
Chrysler Sebring
3
Chevrolet Impala
8
Lexus SC
4
Chrysler 300
9
Dodge Avenger
5
Infiniti FX35
10
Kia Rio
For more information on NHTSA’s final theft rate data, please visit NHTSA.gov/theft.
In the United States,
a motor vehicle is stolen
every 44 seconds.
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Target Spots for Vehicle Theft
It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big metropolitan city, surrounding suburbs or the rural countryside—we are all susceptible
to vehicle theft. Coast to coast, region to region, no one is immune. The following is a list of the 10 U.S. States with the most
stolen vehicles for CY/MY 2010:
4
7
8
5
10
1
9
3
1California
6Georgia
2Florida
7
3Texas
8Maryland
9
6
2
New Jersey
4
New York
North Carolina
5
Illinois
10Nevada
Use Common Sense When Parking and Exiting Your Vehicle
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Always take your key, don’t leave it in or on your vehicle.
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Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
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Park in well-lit areas.
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Always keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible.
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Never, ever leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen.
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Never, ever leave the area while your vehicle is running.
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It’s Not Just Your Vehicle — Thieves Want the Parts Too
Radios and wheel covers aren’t the only popular stolen vehicle parts thieves take. They want whatever sells, from the mandated
labeled parts to those that aren’t. NHTSA’s regulations require vehicle manufacturers to label their vehicle’s major component
parts—called parts-marking—with the vehicle identification number (VIN) unless the vehicle line is granted an exemption. An
exemption may occur if an antitheft device has been installed by the manufacturer as standard equipment on the entire vehicle
line. Parts-marking has been shown to help reduce and deter motor vehicle theft, as well as help law enforcement authorities
identify, trace and recover parts from stolen motor vehicles which ultimately helps with prosecuting the crime.
Vehicle thieves can strip a vehicle in less than 30 minutes—
and make two to four times a vehicle’s worth by selling its
individual parts.
The following parts are federally required to be marked:
There are other hot parts and items that criminals
have recently targeted, but don’t fall under NHTSA’s
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Engine
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Transmission
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Hood
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Air bags
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Right/left front fenders
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Rims and wheels
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Right/left front doors
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Batteries
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Right/left rear doors (four-door models)
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Radiators
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Sliding or cargo door(s)
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Catalytic converters
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Deck lid
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Radios and CD players
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Tailgate or hatchback (if present)
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Portable GPS units
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Front/rear bumpers
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DVD entertainment systems
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Right/left rear quarter panels
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Any items left visible in your car, such as iPods,
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Right/left-side assembly (MPVs)
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Pickup box and/or cargo box (LDTs)
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Rear door(s) (both doors in case of double doors)
regulatory responsibility:
laptops, and purses
Where You Least Expect to Have Your Vehicle Stolen
If you think parking your car at your home is a safe haven, think again. It’s no safer there than in a parking lot garage, on a
road or in an alley. Thieves are always on the prowl, canvassing these places. Breaking into homes just to steal vehicle keys
is becoming more common. FBI reports show that more than three out of four vehicles are stolen at these locations, and more
than one-half of thefts occur in areas where vehicles are parked without attendants.
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Did You Know?
Although a vehicle theft can happen
at any time, the top two months for
vehicle thefts are July and August.
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40-50% of vehicle theft is due to
driver error, which includes leaving
vehicle doors unlocked and leaving
keys in the ignition or on the seats.
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Tips and Prevention
Theft Prevention Programs, Initiatives and Enforcement Activities
There are various State and Federal prevention programs, initiatives and enforcement activities designed to help counter vehicle
theft. Some include:
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DOT Federal Parts-Marking and Antitheft Device Regulation: NHTSA has published many antitheft regulations
to help in the reduction of vehicle theft and to help inform the public about NHTSA’s important vehicle theft prevention
policies. These include a regulation that encourages manufacturer installation of passive antitheft devices as standard
equipment in factory-delivered motor vehicles and a regulation that requires motor vehicle manufacturers to mark original
equipment and replacement parts of passenger motor vehicles with a vehicle identification number. To learn more about
NHTSA’s Vehicle Theft Prevention regulations, please visit NHTSA.gov/theft.
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National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS): Overseen by the Department of Justice, NMVTIS is
designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being re-sold. NMVTIS
also assists states and law enforcement in deterring and preventing title fraud and other crimes. To learn more about
NMVTIS, please visit http://www.NMVTIS.gov/index.html.
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Watch Your Car-type Programs: Programs such as Watch Your Car provide decals for motor vehicle owners to
voluntarily display on their vehicles to alert police that their vehicle is not normally driven between the hours of 1 a.m.
and 5 a.m. Motorists may also choose to display another decal to signify that their vehicle is not normally driven across
international land borders or in the proximity of ports of entry.
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Bait Vehicles: Law enforcement agencies plant decoy vehicles in high-crime areas to capture vehicle thieves. When the
thief takes off with the stolen vehicle, the police are able to disable the vehicle and capture that individual.
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Free Window Etching: Law enforcement agencies sometimes hold free window etching events where they permanently
etch VINs on windows, making it costly for thieves to mask the identity of the vehicle and easier for these agencies to trace
and recover a stolen vehicle.
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Public Awareness Campaigns: Law enforcement agencies sometimes put together public awareness campaigns for
vehicle owners to learn about the importance of using an alarm system, locking windows and doors and having a visual
deterrent like a steering-wheel lock. Other activities that increase awareness include distribution of free steering-wheel
locks at public safety fairs, block-watch parties and community events.
The estimated total value of vehicles stolen nationwide is
more than $4.3 billion.
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The Insurance Industry: Some insurance companies offer rate reductions for vehicles equipped with antitheft devices,
as well as for owners who VIN-etch their windows/glass and garage their vehicles. Other insurance companies advertise
cash reward programs for information leading to vehicle recovery and the arrest and conviction of motor vehicle criminals.
The insurance industry also works closely with local, state and national law enforcement to report and prosecute fraud in
auto theft, provide bait cars to law enforcement in high-theft areas and monitor auctions for suspicious buyers who bid
for salvage that will be dismantled for parts.
For more information on local initiatives, contact your local police department, theft prevention authority or insurance company
to see if any of these theft prevention initiatives are active in your area. For more information on Federal program initiatives,
contact NHTSA or the Department of Justice.
In 2011, over 715,000 motor vehicles were reported
stolen in the United States.
Outwit the Vehicle Thieves
Beat the thieves at their own game. Follow these simple steps to help safeguard your vehicle:
Protect Your Vehicle
There are several different types of antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal and­—in the
event they are stolen—easier to trace and recover. Here’s how some of them work:
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Audible and Visible Devices: Audible devices deter theft by emitting sound that brings attention to an unauthorized
attempt to steal or enter your vehicle, such as a horn alarm. Visible devices are devices that create a visual threat/warning/
deterrence to a potential thief—such as those created by the use of steering-wheel, brake and wheel locks—as well as
theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights and window etching.
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Immobilizing-Type Devices: Immobilizing-type devices are electronic devices that prevent thieves from bypassing your
vehicle’s ignition system and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices incorporate computer chips in ignition keys.
Other immobilizer-type devices disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine, such as fuel cut-off devices, kill switches,
and starter, ignition and fuel disablers.
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Vehicle Recovery Systems: A vehicle thief will look for any way to steal your vehicle, and sometimes no matter what
you do to prevent or deter vehicle theft, it can still happen. Some vehicle manufacturers are installing devices that use
electronic transmission technology to aid in the recovery of your vehicle in the event that it has been stolen. This electronic
transmission technology has the potential to also help law enforcement reveal the location of other stolen vehicles—and
possibility catch the thief in the act.
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“Where’s My Ride?”
Let’s say you’re concluding a nice evening out with friends or have finished running an errand and you notice that your car is
not parked in the spot where you left it. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle was stolen, here are
some steps you should take.
Contact police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. The police will provide you with either a copy of the police report and/
or a case number that you will need to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following
information: License plate number, make, model and color of car, VIN number and any identifying characteristics.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen.
If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.
Currently, approximately 52% of
stolen vehicles are recovered.
Additional Resources
Other resources that may be useful in helping you to find out more about motor vehicle theft are:
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Federal Bureau of Investigation
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Department of Justice
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Uniform Crime Reports
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Highway Loss Data Institute
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International Association of Auto Theft Investigators
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National Insurance Crime Bureau
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To obtain more information about motor vehicle theft prevention and how to shield
your vehicle from theft you may contact the office below:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs
Consumer Standards Division
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE.
West Building
NVS-131, Room W43-302
Washington, DC 20590
Office: (202) 366-4807
Fax: (202) 493-0073
Or visit us online at: SaferCar.gov/theft.
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Revised May 2013
9691b-062513-v2
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