Every 43.8 seconds, a car is stolen in the United States. Over 810,000 vehicles were stolen in 2020 and most of those vehicles are left unlocked with the key or key fob still in the vehicle. In 2021, those numbers only increased. The numbers of stolen vehicles pales in comparison to the actual thefts from unlocked cars. While this number is in the millions, it is a completely preventable crime. Lock your cars. It is that simple. Lock it or lose it.
When cars are stolen they are used to further criminal activity as well as place communities in danger with reckless operation of those vehicles. When items like purses and wallets are stolen from unlocked cars, they are often used to purchase items almost immediately after; sometime racking up thousands of dollars on credit cards.
Sometime vehicles parked at trailheads, gyms, movie theaters, commercial stores and grocery stores are common targets for thieves looking to find valuables in vehicles. If the vehicle is locked, the thieves quickly smash the window and are often on a spending spree long before the vehicle owner notices the damage and theft. The best practice is take valuables with you when the car is locked. If you have to leave items, make sure they hidden and that no one is watching you hide the items.
Catalytic converter thefts are also on the rise. This small piece of a vehicle's exhaust system is filled with valuable precious metals and only takes seconds for criminals to remove. These items are then scrapped for pennies on the dollar while the vehicle owner has to spend thousands to replace this part.