Though the West Coast still holds nine of the 10 hot spots for auto theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), one South Carolina city has jumped into the spotlight.
When the NICB recently released its “Hot Spots 2011” chart, Anderson, SC, appeared in the number 8 slot, up from the number 33 slot it held last year.
The Hot Spots chart tracks auto thefts across the nation, and provides law enforcement and safety officials, as well as the public, with valuable information about which areas pose the highest threats to drivers and their vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle is stolen every 33 seconds. Also according to the NHTSA, auto thefts cost Americans about $6.4 billion each year. With only 57 percent of all vehicles reported stolen able to be recovered, millions of drivers and families are at risk of auto theft. Unfortunately, many people assume that their communities are safe and free from crimes like auto theft. However, as facts like the 60 percent increase in property thefts in South Carolina since 1975 show, no one is safe from theft.
Aside from the financial costs, auto theft also poses real dangers for the safety and security of all drivers and their loved ones. As countless articles detail, car theft can leave a trail of violence, injuries and lost lives across entire communities. NHTSA statistics show that nearly half of all vehicles stolen get stolen because of some sort of driver error–things like leaving vehicle doors unlocked or keys in the ignition. Both the NHTSA and the NICB offer drivers tips for helping safeguard their vehicles and families from theft. You can check out the NHTSA’s vehicle theft prevention website for information about states with the highest levels of theft, the types of vehicles most commonly stolen, or how to prevent theft. In addition to this, drivers should get to know the NICB’s four ‘Layers of Protection’ to prevent theft, which include:
1.) Common Sense (steps which cover common kinds of driver errors)
- Remove your keys from the ignition
- Lock your doors /close your windows
- Park in a well-lit area
2.) Warning Devices
- Noise-making vehicle alarms
- Steering column collars
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
- Brake locks
- Wheel locks
- Anti-theft decals
- Identification markers in or on vehicle
- VIN (vehicle identification number) etching
- Micro dot marking
3.) Immobilizing Devices (technology which stops a thief from hot-wiring, starting or driving away with a vehicle)
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
- Wireless ignition authentication
4.) Tracking Devices
- GPS devices
- Wireless/remote monitoring (like OnStar and similar services)