Keys Left in Vehicles Spurring More Thefts

25 November 2016 - By Eugene Herbert

Having recently spent several days driving in the US, and seeing the
somewhat relaxed and carefree approach they have toward driving, it comes as no
surprise  that they have “problems” as highlighted in this article.

Of course no South African driver would ever dream of leaving keys in the
vehicle - stupid/mad/bonkers – and other similar adjectives would be
appropriate terms of reference for this. That said it is always interesting to
see how “other people” see driving.

In 2015, a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45
seconds in the U.S. And there was a theft every 6.5 minutes in which the driver
left the keys or fob inside the vehicle, according to the National Insurance
Crime Bureau.

In fact, one out of every eight thefts was a freebie for the
thief, with the keys or fob just waiting there for the taking.

It’s a growing problem, according to the latest report from
the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The 57,096 thefts in 2015 amounted
to a 22% increase over the previous year. Over the past three years, this kind
of theft grew by 31%. 

Since many people won’t admit to leaving their vehicle unlocked with the
keys or fob inside, the actual numbers for these kinds of thefts may be
considerably higher than the report indicates.

“Anti-theft technology has had a tremendous impact on reducing thefts
over the past 25 years, but if you don’t lock it up, it’s not going to help,”
said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Complacency can lead to a huge
financial loss and inconvenience for the vehicle owner. Leaving a vehicle
unlocked or with the key or FOB inside gives a thief the opportunity to take
not only the car, but also any possessions inside. It can also provide access
to your personal information if the registration is left in the glove

Law enforcement agencies have also reported incidents in which thieves
have stolen a car, driven it to the residence, and burglarized the home before
the owner even knew the vehicle was missing.

NICB advises drivers to:

>         Lock the vehicle, set the alarm, and take all keys or fobs.

>         Don’t leave the garage door opener in the vehicle.

>         Take a photo of your registration on your cell phone and don’t leave the
registration or other papers with personal information in the vehicle.

>         Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up or while stopping
for a quick cup of coffee. It only takes a moment for the opportunistic thief
to jump inside and drive off.

Common sense it would seem, but there again for anyone who has watched
the Presidential Elections recently they have reason to conclude that many
people don’t have a great deal of common sense.

Till next time – keep your keys safe and remember in SA you need to –
because of jamming – make sure your doors are actually locked before you walk
away from your vehicle.

Eugene Herbert

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