Vehicle Thefts Spike in July; Police Offer Prevention Tips
According to the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, vehicle theft annually exceeds $4 billion and July is the month in which the highest number of cars are stolen. In Maryland, a vehicle is stolen every 39 minutes and nationwide, a vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds.
In 2014, 753 vehicles were stolen in Montgomery County and in approximately 30 percent of these cases, police say a key was left in the vehicle. In many of these vehicle theft cases, police said the thieves originally planned to only steal property such as cash, credit cards, and electronics but stole the vehicle when they found a key in the vehicle.
According to police, theft from autos and vehicle theft can lead to the commission of additional crime by the suspect(s). If a suspect is able to obtain personal information from items in your vehicle, police say you are susceptible to becoming a victim of identity theft. Also, police say thieves have used stolen vehicles in the commission of other crimes.
Vehicle manufacturers have worked to make vehicle theft more difficult to commit by making it nearly impossible to take a vehicle without a key. The Montgomery County Police Department and the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council has some tips for local motorists:
–Keep your vehicle keys with you at all times; not in or on your vehicle. Never leave a spare key or valet key in your vehicle. Valet keys can sometimes be used to start the vehicle.
–Close and lock vehicle windows and doors when parked.
–Don’t leave a vehicle running if unattended.
–Park in well-lit and well-traveled areas.
–Park in a garage if possible and make sure that the garage is secured.
–Use a car alarm and/or anti-theft device.
–Use a vehicle locator device.
If you have questions relating to vehicle theft in Montgomery County, call the Montgomery County Department of Police Centralized Auto Theft Section at 240.773.6370.