car-insurance

Car Thefts Are Up…Are You Safe?

Protecting Your Vehicle from Increasing Theft Rates

There’s nothing more upsetting than being woken up in the middle of the night by the shattering of glass as car thieves help themselves to vehicles on the quiet streets of Calgary. As frightening and violating as being the victim of a vehicle theft can be, more and more Calgarians are finding themselves in this situation. In fact, vehicle theft incidents rose by 49% over the course of 2015, and then by another 51% throughout 2016. Last year alone, police responded to reports of 4879 stolen vehicles – that’s more than 13 each day! In the face of these rising statistics, it pays to know how you can make your vehicle a less-appealing target for any would-be thieves prowling your street – and what you should do if you walk outside your home to find that your vehicle isn’t where you’d left it the night before.

Stop Theft Before It Happens

While you might feel pretty helpless when it comes to combatting carjackers, you don’t need a big red Superman “S” on your chest to be able to fight back. In fact, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take that will go a long way towards keeping your vehicle safe:

  • Park indoors. While some people may not have access to garage parking, everyone who does should absolutely be taking advantage of it. If your car isn’t out on the street, the chances of it being stolen drop dramatically.
  • Take care of your vehicle. Well-maintained cars deter potential thieves. If your car is clean and in good repair, it will be clear that it is a vehicle that the owner is proud of – and therefore, one more likely to have an alarm or other theft-prevention measures.
  • Lock it up. Many thieves will determine their target by simply walking down rows of cars and trying the doors. If a thief doesn’t have to break into a vehicle to steal it, you can be sure that they’ll jump at the opportunity.
  • Don’t leave valuables in sight. It’s so easy to get out of the car at the end of the day and to just leave your wallet, sunglasses, and other effects strewn across the passenger seat – and a passing thief couldn’t ask for a more tempting invitation.

Following these steps will make your car a less-than-ideal target for any potential thieves wandering by. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the odds work against us, and you may still find yourself a victim of vehicle theft.

What to Do If Your Car Does Get Stolen

Even if you take the time to make your car as unappealing a target as possible, there’s always the chance that a passing thief will still try to break into your car and make off with your vehicle. If you walk out of your home one day to an empty space where your car used to be, we have some advice on what your first steps should be:

  • Call the police. Once you’ve verified your car has, in fact, been stolen (and that your teenaged son didn’t just borrow it without asking), the first thing you should do is call the police. More than 85% of stolen vehicles are recovered, but the longer you take the report the theft, the less likely it is that you’ll see your car again.
  • Report your car as stolen. Once you’ve got the police in the loop, the next step is to report your car as stolen to both your insurance carrier and the provincial registry. Registries often work with the police to recover stolen vehicles, and your insurers will guide you on any further steps to take, and will help you get back on the road as soon as possible.
  • Do not chase or approach. If you see your vehicle out and about after it’s been stolen, do not chase or approach the vehicle. Call the police right away and let them know where the vehicle is, along with any description of the individuals in the vehicle.

It’s never fun dealing with a vehicle theft, but hopefully with this advice, you’ll at least know what to do if you ever find yourself in that ill-fated situation. Looking for more tips on how to make your car less attractive to thieves? Call us at Lucas & Wright, and we’ll be happy to share some with you!

 

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