Is Your Car On Thieves' Most Wanted List?

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The top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be stolen in Arizona for the year 2000 should see owners of Chevrolet crew, king and extended cab trucks investing in anti-theft devices.

Chevrolet tops the list state-wide, holding the No. 1 spot with its full-size truck, as well as the No. 2 slot with the extended cab.

Oldsmobile fell into the third most likely to be stolen with its Cutlass Supreme and Ciera models.

The Honda Accord followed in fourth place. The Ford F150 pickup was fifth in Arizona. It also held the same ranking in metropolitan Phoenix.

Rounding out the top 10 was the Dodge Ram truck, Honda Civic, Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee, Saturn SI, GMC pickup and the Dodge Neon.

Locally, the Payson Police Department investigated 23 motor vehicle thefts in 2000. The number includes motorcycles, quads and passenger vehicles. Trucks, Ford and Chevy, were the number one stolen vehicles with a total of seven.

The recovery of a stolen vehicle can sometimes be disheartening.

"They are recovered in a variety of places, sometimes they are damaged or stripped of parts," Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said. "Often they are stolen for the sole purpose of transportation from one place to another."

Arizona ranks No. 2 in the nation for the highest vehicle theft per capita, with the District of Columbia in the No. 1 spot. However, unlike DC which had a decrease in auto theft from 1999 to 2000, Arizona saw its theft rate rise 5.2 percent from 38,247 thefts to 43,204.

The AATA asked in a news release Dec. 13, that all vehicle owners take proactive measures in protecting their vehicles. It suggests "layers" of protection to make it more difficult and time consuming for a thief to steal your vehicle.

Some theft prevention tips include:

Never leave packages within clear view in your vehicle lock them in your trunk. If you do not have a trunk, keep them covered and out of sight.

Avoid using parking spaces where the view may be obstructed by buildings or shrubbery.

When returning to your vehicle, have your keys in hand and ready to use.

Do NOT hide a spare set of keys anywhere in your vehicle.

Always lock your car doors and completely close windows.

Use visual and audible auto theft deterrents such as steering wheel locks, steering column collars, tire locks, alarms and etching vehicle identification number on vehicle windows.

In addition to everyday precautions, vehicle owners driving theft-targeted vehicles should take extra steps to safeguard their vehicles from being stolen.

For more information. call 1-888-668-4433 or visit its website at www.azwatchyourcar.com.

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