(PIKESVILLE, MD) – The Maryland State Police, along with the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, are reminding motorists to take simple steps to prevent having their vehicle stolen.
The warnings come as July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. In Maryland, a car is stolen every 40 minutes, while one is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States. In most cases, vehicles are stolen either for the resale or distribution of parts, for transportation purposes, for the commission of other crimes, or for exportation.
One of the primary goals of National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month is to highlight how preventable most thefts are if people follow some basic steps. Overall, 50 percent of the vehicles stolen had the keys/key fobs left inside the vehicle while 60 percent of the vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
In addition, more than 66 percent of vehicle thefts occur at night and 95 percent of the vehicles stolen had no anti-theft devices. National surveys reveal that 33 percent of drivers left their vehicle while it was running.
According to the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, 95 percent of stolen vehicles had no apparent anti-theft device and 22 percent of vehicles are never recovered. In 2019, there were 11,255 vehicles stolen in Maryland while 721,885 vehicles were stolen in the United States, costing vehicle owners more than $6 billion.
To help drivers keep their vehicles safe, the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council is continuing its annual awareness campaign during July. Vehicle theft is serious business. Consider the following:
- Passenger cars made up more than 50% of all stolen motor vehicles.
- Only 56.1% of all stolen motor vehicles were recovered.
- Of all motor vehicles stolen, 74.5% were passenger vehicles.
- Thieves can strip a vehicle of parts in 30 minutes or less.
- Approximately 25 to 40 percent of the cost of comprehensive auto insurance is due to auto theft.
As a driver, you can take steps to keep your vehicle and belongings safe! Here are ways you can help prevent motor vehicle theft.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
- Put away your valuables.
- Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
- Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running.
The Maryland General Assembly created the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council in 1994 as a statewide planning and dedicated funding resource. The Council embraces a statewide strategy directed at public awareness, vehicle theft by juveniles, law enforcement and prosecution through a grant award process. Efforts by the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council have led to a more than 70 percent reduction of vehicle thefts in Maryland over the past 26 years. Those efforts have saved Maryland motorists more than $239M over that span.