And tips to protect your car from theft
Would you believe that 23,369 cars were stolen in Michigan last year? I received this information from the Michigan State Police. The real number of car thefts in Michigan is probably significantly higher, as many stolen vehicles also go unreported. So today I wanted to share this “hot list” (sorry about the pun) – of the most stolen cars in Michigan, from the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA):
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 2005 Chevrolet Impala
- 2012 Chevrolet Malibu
- 1999 Ford Taurus
- 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 1997 Chevrolet Pick-Up
- 2006 Ford Pick-Up
- 2012 Ford Fusion
- 2000 Dodge Intrepid
- 1999 Pontiac Grand Am
Favorite choices of color:
What’s interesting is that it’s not the fancy, pricey cars that are most ripe for thieves. The list shows it’s more likely to be the unremarkable family car that blends in well. Another interesting point is that top-selling older cars are stolen more frequently than new cars. The thieves usually dismantle the vehicles and sell the parts online or to crooked auto parts dealers.
The good news is, auto thefts have been declining. The FBI says national car thefts are on a downward trend.
And the ATPA also reports that car thefts are declining in Michigan as well. The ATPA annual report revealed car thefts in Michigan decreased by .03 percent from 2011 to 2012. The figure is a continuation of a downward trend that started in 2010-11 reporting year, when there was a 6.8 percent decline in auto thefts.
Programs such as the Auto Theft Prevention Authority and tip lines like 1-800-242-HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts) that encourage citizens to call with information that may lead to the arrest of thieves and chop shop operators are helping, according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan.
Qualified HEAT tips are rewarded:
- Up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of or issuance of a warrant for a suspected car thief or a person suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud;
- Up to $2,000 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect; and
- Rewards of up to $10,000 are issued if a tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial of suspected theft ring or chop shop operators.
How to protect your vehicle from thieves
It’s still wise to consider ways to protect your vehicle from theft, starting with some common sense reminders:
- If the keys are in the ignition, don’t leave your vehicle unattended.
- Remember to close the windows and the sunroof upon exiting your car.
- Park your car in the garage and close it, if possible.
- Consider a GPS tracking device so you can monitor your vehicle’s location via a Smartphone or computer.
- Consider an anti-theft device, like the “Club,” or a car alarm.
- Consider installing an ignition kill switch or fuel cutoff device to make it more difficult for a thief to start the vehicle.
- Have the VIN number etched on the windshield and major components to make them harderfor chop shops to sell as replacement parts.