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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Visible or Audible Deterrent
There are many devices designed to alert thieves
that your car is protected. Popular examples include:
steering wheel locks
steering column collars
theft deterrent decals
V.I.N. Etching: etch
vehicle identification number (VIN) on vehicle
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:
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.