Car thefts have always been around ever since cars first started being produced. You don’t even have to actually steal the car to get charged with grand theft auto, you need to attempt to steal one. Grand theft auto covers any motor vehicle such as automobile, truck, bus, coach bus, motorcycle, snowmobile or trailer. In 2005 there were 416 motor vehicles stolen for every 100,000 people.
One of the most common methods for stealing a car is to break into a parked vehicle and hotwire it or tow it away. A very common cause of car theft is when people leave the keys in their cars. This happens frequently in the winter months when people leave their cars running to warm them up before getting in them to drive. If you’re going to warm up the car, lock the door with another set of keys.
A car theft where the owner may not decide to press charges is “theft with access to keys” or “taken without owner’s consent”. This is where someone may be allowed access to the car, but was not given permission at that time to take the car. This is usually a child, relative or company employee.
Carjacking is the scariest car theft case where the car driver is forced out of the car by force or threat of force. Sometimes the owner and passengers are forced to stay in the car as hostages. These are the most violent of car thefts and have resulted in children inadvertently kidnapped by carjackers.
A much less violent form of car theft is buying a vehicle from a seller through fraud. In other words paying for the car with a counterfeit check, or through identity theft. This type of crime has been growing in recent years.
Even with a keyless lock your car can still be stolen. It’s been proven that keyless locks have weak or no protection of the unlock signal. Commercially available tools such as RFID microreaders have been used to unlock the signal and steal cars.
The most commonly stolen cars in the United States recently have been Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Jeep Cherokee and Cadillac Escalade.
There are different ways to try to keep your car from getting stolen. There are devices that lock the steering wheel or brake pedal or immobilizers that will start the vehicle only if a key with the chip is in the ignition. Theft deterrent systems are car alarms, VIN etching, car alarm signs in windows and killswitches. Killswitches are located between parts of the starting system and the car cannot be started with flipping these killswitches. These switches are usually hidden in the car to slow down or frustrate a car their.
Vehicle tracking systems such as LoJack or OnStar can help locate a stolen vehicle and even stop the stolen vehicle while it’s being driven by the thief.