There are few things in life that are more gut-wrenching than walking out of the store, to where you parked only to find your car is missing. Usually, you’ve just forgotten where you parked, and maybe it’s just the next row over, but sometimes this, unfortunately, isn’t the case. You search the parking lot, row by row, only to grow more frantic when you realize that your car just simply isn’t there. It’s been stolen.
Car theft happens for a number of reasons. Typically when a car is stolen, it’s not because someone is looking for a quick ride. Rather they were looking to make a quick buck. Car thieves will often take cars to a “chop shop”, where the car is quickly and efficiently dismantled for parts and sold. A catalytic converter, for example, has small amounts of precious metals such as silver and gold, but also rarer metals such as palladium and platinum. For reference, platinum is currently about $939 per troy ounce (Source: JM Bullion Spot Price Chart as of 2/24/16).
MARYLAND’S MOST WANTED
One of the most stolen cars in the United States is the Honda Accord, as many Accords are modded out for street racing and are a very popular choice with car thieves. However, the preferred vehicle of choice in Maryland isn’t anything so flashy. According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2014 report, the most commonly stolen vehicle in Maryland is actually the 2002 Dodge Caravan. While a minivan might seem like a strange target, it’s very likely this vehicle, in particular, was chosen just due to its popularity and, therefore, availability in Maryland.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CAR THEFT
It’s something we all hope never happens to us, and in some cases, if your car is wanted badly enough, there is little you can do. However, here are a few tips for keeping yourself safe and lowering your chance of having your car stolen.
- Lock your doors: Yes, we know. It’s obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people leave their car doors unlocked. This is easily one of the quickest ways to protect your vehicle. The more effort required to break into your car, the lower the chance it will be stolen.
- Arm your Alarm: Again, you may be surprised. Car alarms have improved over the years and they can be a great deterrent against theft by drawing a good deal of unwanted attention to someone who might be trying to steal your vehicle.
- Install a Kill Switch: A kill switch or any other immobilizing device will disengage your vehicle’s motor should it become activated. This prevents a thief from actually being able to drive any considerable distance.
- Install a Tracking Device: A Lojack or similar GPS based tracking device can help law enforcement officers help to find your vehicle in the unfortunate instance that it’s been stolen and it’s particularly helpful if the thief is able to drive your vehicle a distance.
While these might seem fairly simple, a little goes a long way towards protecting your car from being stolen.