July is vehicle theft prevention month, so it is important to protect your transit vehicle and not make it a target for theft. Over 720,000 drivers are victims of vehicle theft each year. In fact, in the U.S. a vehicle is stolen about every 43 seconds. Vehicle theft is often due to driver errors, so it is important to always take your vehicle’s keys with you, close all windows, lock the doors, and park in a well-lit area if it is dark out.
If there is ever a situation where someone does steal your vehicle, it is important to know what your agency’s specific policy is. General rules of thumb to follow though include:
- Immediately contact the police and file a stolen-vehicle report. The insurance company will likely need a copy of the police report.
- Contact the insurance company and file a claim within 24 hours of discovering a vehicle was stolen.
- If the vehicle is located before authorities find it, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.
There are preventative antitheft measures that can be taken to deter criminals and ensure that vehicles will not be stolen. Audible and visible devices include alarms, steering wheel locks, and theft deterrent decals that warn thieves to stay away. Immobilizing devices makes it nearly impossible for thieves to hot-wire vehicles. Lastly, vehicle recovery systems allow law enforcement to tap into the vehicle’s transmission technology to locate it.