How many of you have this habit of leaving your car unlocked with keys still in the ignition to grab a quick snack or pick up something? Assuming you’ll be out for just a minute or two, you think it’s safe to do it. Well, you thought wrong. This bad practice of some drivers can lead to freebie car theft. This type of theft happens when you leave your car unlocked or unattended while the key is still stuck in the ignition.
According to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the number of reported incidents of the so-called freebie car theft was at 57,096 in 2015, higher by 22 percent than the previous year.
Never ever leave your car open even just for a few seconds. It may be convenient to leave your car running while doing a short errand nearby, but there is no assurance that when you come back, your car will still be where you left it. Doing that is a little short of an open invitation to take away your car.
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NICB expected the freebie car theft incidents to decline, but instead, it increased by 31 percent over the last three years. The Bureau believes that the actual figure is much higher than what’s reported. You have to understand that leaving the car unlocked with the key still inside is really not a bright idea, so it’s understandable if some people prefer not to admit being a victim of such theft.
How to Prevent Freebie Car Theft
To avoid falling prey to freebie car theft, NICB advises drivers to keep in mind the following:
- Never leave the car open, unlocked, or with the engine still running as thieves can take over your vehicle in just seconds
- Never forget to lock the vehicle, set the alarm, and bring the car key with you
- Save a copy of the car registration plate
- Never leave important documents or any valuables inside the car
Another effective way of keeping your vehicle safe against theft is to install GPS vehicle locator. The GPS device is helpful in case your car is stolen. It has route tracking feature that will help locate and recover your vehicle.