Massachusetts has seen a steady decline in grand theft auto cases since the mid-1970s when it was sometimes referred to as “the country’s car theft capital.” At one point, the parking lot at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, a mall just down the street from our offices, was one of the most notorious aut0 theft spots in the state.
In 2012, Boston alone reported 1,575 stolen vehicles. While this figure is far better than those reported long ago, residents need to take every possible safety precaution to prevent this type of crime.
Safety Tips for Preventing Car Theft
Although most of us usually remember to always lock our cars — even when we expect to return to them in a very short span of time — many other safety tips are often forgotten or overlooked. Here are some of the most valuable ones.
- Always drive a vehicle with a properly operating anti-theft device or alarm system;
- Never leave any valuable items in plain view in your vehicle. Thieves are much more likely to try and break in and thwart your locking mechanisms when they see an expensive laptop, phone or other device that can be easily fenced;
- If my must leave a spare key in your vehicle, make sure you never leave it just under the seat or somewhere else where a crook might easily look;
- Always park your vehicle in a well-lit area or upscale garage with plenty of lighting;
- Although most cars have alarms to remind you, never leave your keys in the ignition, even if you only expect to be gone a short while;
- Keep your windows up and locked. Thieves often look for obvious ways to pry open windows to gain access to your car;
- If your car or truck doesn’t come with one, consider installing a high-tech tracking device so that if your vehicle is stolen, the police will have an easier time finding it for you;
- Never give others a spare set of your keys unless they’re close family members you trust
Car Models Most Likely to Be Stolen
According to a recent CNBC report, thieves aren’t always looking for the most expensive cars when trying to steal one and make money. In fact, they often choose older models that last a long time and frequently use many of the same parts found in newer models. Older vehicles are also attractive since they often lack the sophisticated anti-theft features common to many newer vehicles. The following list can alert owners to take extra safety measures when driving one of these favorite vehicles of today’s criminals.
- The Toyota Corolla
- The Ford Explorer
- Chevrolet Pickups
- The 2000 Dodge Caravan
- The 1994 Acura Integra
- The 1991 Toyota Camry
- The 1995 Honda Civic
- The 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
- The 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
- The 1994 Honda Accord
Special Massachusetts Efforts to Prevent Car Thefts
Many residents appreciate the diligent efforts being made by the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force. Qualifying citizens who provide law enforcement with “information that leads to the arrest of a car thief, or the location of a ‘chop shop’” (where car parts are “harvested” and then later sold illegally) can net a cash reward of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00). To participate in this program, just call 1-800-HOT-AUTO.
By Elizabeth Smith