Car theft is one of those things that people faithfully believe will never happen to them.
Even after the first time my car got stolen I simply thought, “this could never happen to me again.” Same for the second time — surely this could not happen to one person three times.
But, after the third time my car got stolen, I had to ask myself why does my busted, old, ’97 Honda Civic keep getting stolen?
One of the biggest factors is simply the kind of car that I drive. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau the Honda Civic is the second most stolen car, not only in Colorado, but also the United States.
Car theft is also considered a “transitional crime,” meaning people don’t always steal cars, just to steal cars. There is often a motive behind it, such as identity theft or stealing items left in cars.
In an effort to combat car theft in Colorado, a group called Coloradans Against Auto Theft created a website called lockdownyourcar.org. This is the same group that has been putting up advertisements about how car theft can also lead to a stolen identity. If you’re like me, the first thing you thought was “well that’s just ridiculous.”
But according to this website, 50 percent of auto theft happens because the keys were left in the car. Something that I never did.
This website also explains exactly how a car thief can steal your identity after stealing your car.
When personal items like, wallets, bills, registration, and garage door openers are left in the car, it is as simple as putting the pieces together for the car thief to steal your identity. Your car registration has your address on it, and your car has your garage door opener in it. Therefore, the thief now has access to your house.
The site has a list of things you can do to prevent auto theft, many of which fall into the lines of common sense, like not leaving personal items in the vehicle and where to park your car.
The Colorado Auto Theft Investigator Association has its own list of prevention tips, that is very similar to CAAT’s list, but with more detail. For the full list of prevention tips, visit their website at coloradoautotheft.org.
The website also took the NICB’s point tracking system and modified it to Colorado’s needs. The point tracking system shows you what level of prevention you should follow based on what kind of car you have and where you live.
On average a car is stolen every minute in the U.S. So, it pays to know the details of the car you own. It may seem like a lot of money now on a student’s budget to invest in things like a kill-switch, immobilization device or what have you, but in the long run it is much cheaper than getting a whole new car.
The police recovered my car the first two times, but the third time hasn’t been a charm. I’m still car-less and walking.