JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages people to stay alert to avoid becoming the next target.
A vehicle is stolen in the United States every 43.8 seconds, according to the NHTSA.
Anyone can be a target.
“Don’t be complacent. Thieves look for a window of opportunity,” said James Brown, a retired officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Brown said nightclubs, parking lots outside of businesses and outside of homes are where car thieves lurk.
Brown said once the cars are stolen, they’re often taken to “chop shops.”
“A lot of some of the bigger organized groups would take the vehicle and even had them shipped overseas,” he said.
According to a new analysis from CoPilot, the average price to purchase a used car is up more than $10,000 -- that means thieves can make a big profit.
“It goes with supply and demand,” Brown said.
The NHTSA recommends these tips to prevent thefts:
- Do not leave keys inside the vehicle
- Close and lock all windows and doors
- Park in well-lit areas
- Never leave valuables inside
Another good tip to keep in mind is knowing your license plate and VIN number.
Brown said this can help authorities track down your car faster in the event that your car is stolen.