Don’t be fooled by the glitzy name: “Hot Spots” is an annual Top 10 list that no city wants to be on. Published each June by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the report ranks the places with the most per-capita vehicle thefts in the U.S. First place in the latest survey: Modesto, Calif. Seven other California locations appear on this year’s list, along with Albuquerque, N.M., and Pueblo, Colo. While the country overall recorded car-theft decreases over the last several years, the west (dominated by California) is still popular with car thieves.
Don’t get burned. Whether you live near an auto-theft hot spot or not, taking proper precautions can help make your vehicle less of a target.
Be mindful of where you park
Choose a well-lit area. Where available, park in a supervised lot or covered garage. It may cost a little extra, but the added protection and peace of mind is well worth it.
Secure your vehicle
Remove keys from the ignition, roll up all windows, lock doors and, if you have one, activate your car alarm when you leave the vehicle. Never leave your car running and unattended.
Don’t leave any valuables in plain sight
Remove or stow out of sight any purses, shopping bags, electronics, and any other valuables that may entice a thief. And never store your vehicle title in the car.
Take advantage of anti-theft features
Many cars today come equipped with features such as car-disabling locks and tracking systems. If your car doesn’t have them, consider having them installed for added protection. Anything from an audible alarm to a steering-column collar can tell car thieves your car is protected. Use smart keys, kill switches and other tech tools to prevent a thief from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring your car. Install a tracking system to send a signal to police or a monitoring station if your vehicle is stolen. In some states, it could even qualify you for an additional discount on your auto coverage.
Find out what to do if your car is stolen.
By David Wright