Stolen Cars in California: How to Protect Yourself

There is a disturbing trend emerging in the state of California.

Research shows that the Golden State leads the country when it comes to the number of vehicles stolen, especially with the keys left inside. In 2014, over 44,000 cars were stolen in California, representing nearly 7% of the cars stolen across the country.

Often, these people leave their cars running in a retail store parking lot while they run back in the store to quickly get something they forgot. Unfortunately, this is one of the easiest ways to get your vehicle stolen. Thieves preying on victims in parking lots will often wait around for someone to leave their keys in the ignition or somewhere else nearby, such as behind a mirror or under a floormat.

Why Do People Leave Their Keys in Their Cars? 

There are several reasons why drivers in the state of California and elsewhere leave their keys unattended inside of their vehicle. Some people are simply oblivious to the danger that this scenario can pose for them, believing that their vehicle is safe at any time. Others think that car thieves only go after high-end luxury vehicles, and believe that car thieves wouldn't be interested in their run-of-the-mill vehicle.

Both of these assumptions are incorrect. Car thieves take every opportunity possible to prey on the people who make themselves a target, such as those who leave their keys in a place that is easy to reach. And as far as which types of cars thieves go after, you might be surprised to find out that most car thieves prefer older models. The Los Angeles Times reported that the most popular car for thieves in California to steal is over 20 years old: the 1991 Honda Accord. In fact, none of the top 5 most popular cars for car thieves to steal was produced after the year 2000.

The reasons for this are the ones you might expect: older vehicles have less sophisticated security systems, and people are more likely to be careless with these cars since they aren't worth as much as new ones.

Despite what the numbers say, anyone can fall victim of a car thief no matter what type of vehicle they have. That's why it's critical to instill habits that will protect your car from theft when you are in public.

How to Protect Your Vehicle

So what can you do to protect your vehicle, whether you are in California or any other part of the country? Several things:

  • Always keep your vehicle locked, even when you are inside of it and driving
  • If you have a spare key or a set of house keys, never leave them somewhere that is visible to those passing by your car. Put them in a glove box or compartment in your vehicle instead
  • Look around and be aware of your surroundings. Use your instincts. If you feel threatened or it seems like the area you are driving through might be dangerous, do not get out of your car or leave it parked somewhere
  • Don't keep anything extremely valuable in your vehicle while you aren't in it. If you do, make sure to keep it out of sight inside of the vehicle

Even if you follow these precautions, you may still find yourself the victim of a car theft. In these situations, it's best to call a private investigator in southern California that you can depend on. A knowledgeable private investigator can help you by interviewing key witnesses, conducting surveillance on suspects, and running background checks on those who you think may have been involved. Obtain the services of an experienced, trustworthy private investigator today if you or a loved one needs help with a stolen car.

Published on: 
May 5, 2015
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