Tips: Protect Your Car From Thieves This Summer

H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts) warns residents to stay alert this summer as carelessness among car owners often increases as warm weather sets in, providing thieves with easy access to personal property and vehicles. July also is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month.

"As summer begins, people often let their guard down as focus shifts to warm-weather fun with friends and family over safety precautions like auto theft prevention," said Terri Miller, director of H.E.A.T. "Thieves are still out there ready to steal exposed items such as shopping bags, electronics, purses and possibly the vehicle itself while you are off enjoying the nice weather."

"Keep a watchful eye on your property this summer, whether at home or on vacation," encouraged Detective William Darnell of Western Wayne Auto Theft. "It is also important to keep watch in your neighborhood in the summer months, since thieves are especially active when the weather is warm."

H.E.A.T. is happy to provide drivers with the following tips for keeping cars and belongings safe during warm weather:

  • Closed Not Cracked -- Close windows tightly, don't even leave them "cracked" and always lock your car when your vehicle is unattended.
  • Out of Sight -- Keep all personal belongings, including iPods, cell phones and other valuables, out of sight.
  • Kill-Switch -- Protect your vehicle from being started by a thief by having a mechanic install a concealed kill-switch.
  • Double Duty -- Add a second layer of protection to your vehicle by using a steering wheel locking device, a steering column protector or an alarm with a visible flasher.
  • VIN -- Consider etching your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) onto the glass surfaces of your vehicle. VIN etching makes vehicles less attractive to thieves because all windows must be replaced before the car is tagged with a fake VIN for resale.
  • Keep Watch -- Help your neighborhood by noting any suspicious activity and writing down descriptions, license plate numbers and other helpful information.

1-800-242-H.E.A.T. -- If you know anything about auto theft, chop shops, carjacking or insurance fraud report it day or night to your local police department and H.E.A.T.'s 24/7 confidential tip-reward line, 1-800-242-HEAT or online at .

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