By Barrie Advance

Some cars are stolen to provide fast cash to enterprising criminals. Others are actually targeted for transport and resale to those who can afford to pay the price in western Africa. But those are more the exceptions than the rule.

The reason most cars are targeted — and stolen — is because of opportunity. The owner, in a moment when their brain cramped, forgot to lock the vehicle or completely close a window, making the two tons of metal on wheels a relatively easy target.

If you are targeted by any nefarious individual, then about all you can do is hope that your insurance policy is current — and paid up.

Long story short: all vehicles are always at risk of being targeted by thieves. Even so, there are things motorists can do to reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the possibility of becoming another unfortunate statistic. As an aside, were you aware that the majority of stolen vehicles are used to commit secondary crimes?

While there are many things people can do to steer clear of car thieves, the statistics show that criminals are experiencing quite a bit of success when it comes to separating people from their rides. In fact, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a car is stolen, on average, every three and a half minutes in Canada, which adds up to about 420 cars per day. Auto theft is estimated to cost Canadians $600 million annually.

Steering wheel locks and immobilizers will help to make cars less attractive to would-be vehicle thieves. Fortunately, there other best practices that can tip the scales in favour of car owners. For example, CAA South Central Ontario suggests the following tips to help prevent car theft:

•    Lock doors, and don’t leave the key in the ignition.
•    Don’t leave your car running unattended.
•    Keep all valuables out of sight; place shopping bags and laptops in the trunk, as well as electronics and accessories, or carry them when leaving the car.
•    Completely close windows and sunroofs.
•    Have an alarm system installed. The noise alone may be enough to scare away a thief and prevent a break-in.
•    Always park in a busy, well-lit area or in a garage.

In the unfortunate event your car is stolen and your insurance company considers it a write off (for whatever reason), you may well be in the market for a new set of wheels. Consider the online resources of AutoCatch.comto source a reliable replacement.


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