by Daisy Flores, Gila County Attorney and Ramai Jarles, Deputy County Attorney
The age and location of your vehicle have little bearing on whether or not your vehicle will be stolen. The 10 most stolen vehicles are at least four years old and are taken from personal driveways, neighborhood streets, and shopping malls and city parking lots.
Avoiding vehicle theft
Lock your car, even if you're going to be away from your car for a minute. Half of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked and 20 percent of stolen vehicles had the keys still in them.
Do not leave your car running. Thieves like when you leave your car unlocked to run to the ATM or into a gas station or to drop a movie off. Recently there was a case of a woman in Phoenix who left her two children in her running truck while she ran inside a convenience store. A man stole her truck and kidnapped the two children. Fortunately for her, an Amber alert was sent out and her children and her vehicle were recovered.
Place all valuables or packages in the trunk or out of sight. If you have a radio in your car, remove the face plate if possible, even it you simply put it in the glove compartment. This will help prevent thieves from breaking into your vehicle to steal your radio.
Park in well-lit and busy areas. Criminals do not want to be caught and will attempt to steal vehicles that are in areas with low visibility. At a mall or grocery store parking lot, park underneath a light or where there is a lot of traffic, for example the entrance to the food court.
Use your emergency brake when parking. This increases the difficulty of your vehicle being towed by professional car thieves who want to keep your vehicle in good condition.
Helping police to recover your vehicle.
Drop address labels inside the vehicle doors to help law enforcement to identify your car. This will assist the police officers in returning your vehicle quickly.
Many of these anti-theft options, such as Lo-Jack, are misleading because they aid more in the recovery of your vehicle once it has been stolen than in preventing your vehicle from being stolen. These options are available at most car dealerships and some electronic stores. They range in price, with different levels of success.
Inform the police immediately, if your can has been stolen. The sooner the police are informed of the theft, the higher the chances of recovery.