What You Can Do to Stop Auto Theft!!
1. Do not leave or "hide" your car keys in or on your car. Every day we have vehicles that are stolen by using a key that the victim left in the car. Suspects are very skillful at finding the hidden key. Often a suspect who breaks into a vehicle to steal items will find the key or a firearm and the result is more crimes.

2. Lock your vehicle and engage your alarm system.  When a car thief has to force entry by breaking a window, he takes more risks at getting caught, both on the scene and while driving. Driving around town in a vehicle with a shattered window is a pretty good indicator that the vehicle is stolen. Alarms do deter some thieves. A suspect will often just go to another unsecured or unprotected vehicle.

3. Secure your vehicle tag with one way screws. Most suspects steal a tag to put on a stolen vehicle. Making it difficult to remove your tag increases the chances the tag will not be changed which makes it easier for police to spot.

4. Reduce attention to your vehicle. Do not leave "incentives" in plain view in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. Firearms, packages, cellular phones, and etc. draw attention to your vehicle. Never leave the title to your vehicle in the vehicle itself. You are making it easier for someone to forge your name and sell your vehicle.

5. If you are selling your vehicle yourself, be careful who "test drives" your vehicle. Do not assume the vehicle he is driving when he comes to your house is his. It could be stolen. Some of our victims fail to get positive I.D. and the suspect takes their vehicle and leaves a stolen one in their driveway. Perhaps he switched keys and will come back to steal your vehicle. Be alert.

6. Any extra security devices are a good idea. There are lots of information on the different types of anti-theft devices. Everything from steering wheel locks to hidden cut off switches can give you added protection.

7. Call us about suspicious activity. We frequently interview suspects whose parents, friends, and neighbors have knowledge or have seen the suspects driving numerous vehicles on their neighborhood streets. If your child's friends pick up your kid and they have windows that are broken from their vehicles, be suspicious. A screwdriver in the ignition or a missing ignition are a significant indicator of a stolen vehicle. You should be suspicious when you see this in your home or neighborhood. Frequently parents do not know who their kids are being given rides by until they receive a phone call from us. Call us directly or
Crime Stoppers  if you have suspicions and give us as much information as possible, i.e. tag numbers, colors, type of vehicle, etc.

8. Lock your car and take the keys.  We still have suspects who hang around shopping centers, gas stations, convenience stores, day cares, etc. waiting for a victim who leaves his or her car keys in the vehicle while paying for gas, "running in for a minute", etc. Do not be a victim. Lock your car and take the keys!



What If My Vehicle is Stolen?
We hope this will not happen to you. If you follow the tips and suggestions above then you have significantly reduced your chances of becoming a victim. The fact is however, that it can happen and you will be angry, upset, and maybe confused if it does. We are going to help you and we want you to know what to do.

Remember, a vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in United States. You need to let us know as soon as possible that your vehicle was stolen. Call 910-323-1500 to report the crime or if the vehicle was just stolen and you have some suspect information, call 911.

Before you call, get together the proper information. We need the tag number, year, color, make and model of you vehicle. If your vehicle is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in one of the 50 states, we can get a lot of the information with the tag number. If the vehicle is not registered to you (perhaps you just bought it and the title has not been transferred), then we will need proof of ownership. Proof of ownership can be a title, temporary registration or bill of sale. There are a lot of vehicles on the road and if the suspect changed tags, we will need the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) so that we can confirm a recovered vehicle is yours. The VIN will be with DMV if the vehicle is registered. It is important to register your vehicle as soon as possible with DMV. for this reason.

We need to know what significant items you had in your vehicle. Was there a firearm, baby seat, jewelry, etc.? When we question suspects, they frequently can not tell us very much about the vehicles they stole. They are frequently unfamiliar with the area of the city or county where they stole or left the vehicle. They often do not know makes and models of vehicles, and these tips from you can help the investigator when the suspect is being questioned. Decals, unusual vehicle equipment or accessories frequently assist the investigator when questioning the suspect. Was there glass next to the spot where you parked your vehicle?

Be sure and get your OCA number from the deputy who takes your report. Both the Sheriff's Office and insurance company need this number for referral to your case.

Be sure and give us any and all phone numbers that will enable us to contact you in the event we recover your vehicle. We need to know how to get in touch with you.

The next thing to do is to contact your insurance company and advise them of the theft.





The Layered Approach to Protection
The more time a thief has to spend stealing a car, the greater the chance of detection. That's why car thieves take the easy route-- it's faster. To make your vehicle a tough target, the National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a "Layered Approach." The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the tougher it is to steal.





Layer 1:
The Common Sense Approach

The common sense approach is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart thieves. Some of these suggestions are obvious; some might not have occurred to you. But they can all help protect your car: Look above for common sense tips.

Layer 2:
Visible or Audible Deterrent
There are many devices designed to alert thieves that your car is protected. Popular examples include:

  • audible alarms
  • steering wheel locks
  • steering column collars
  • theft deterrent decals
  • tire locks
  • V.I.N. Etching: etch vehicle identification number (VIN) on vehicle windows

Layer 3:
Vehicle Immobilizers

These devices prevent thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot--wiring your vehicle. Some use computer chips in ignition keys, while others inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel until you hit a hidden switch. Here are a few examples:

  • smart keys
  • use cut-offs
  • kill switches
  • starter, ignition and fuel disablers

Layer 4:
Tracking Systems

A vehicle tracking system is a high-- tech device designed to be hidden in your automobile in order to emit a signal that the police can monitor if you report a theft. These systems are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.





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