The Phoenix area has seen a steady decline in auto theft rates over the past several years, according to recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The organization ranked Phoenix No. 70 out of 380 metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the number of auto theft reports per person in 2012. That’s a major improvement over 2002’s data, when the NICB’s report ranked Phoenix No. 1 for auto theft rates.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery attributed the decline to the county’s Auto Theft Bureau, which works to investigate and prosecute auto theft cases.
On a state level, the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority offers programs and community events to educate drivers on protecting their vehicles. The AATA and NICB recommend adding “layers” of protection as the best way to help prevent theft.
“The more barriers would-be car thieves have to get past, the less likely they are to target your vehicle.”
Peter Zipp, an Allstate Agent in Goodyear, agrees. “Layering protection for your vehicle can also help deter thieves,” he says. “The more barriers would-be car thieves have to get past, the less likely they are to target your vehicle.”
Layer 1: Common Sense. Eliminate temptation by keeping your vehicle locked, removing any valuable items from sight, parking it in a well-lit area, and not leaving it running unattended.
Layer 2: Protection. Use multiple forms of protection. A car alarm is a good deterrent, but using other prevention devices like a steering wheel lock help provide additional barriers for potential thieves. The AATA also recommends etching your vehicle’s VIN number on the windows and offers regular free VIN etching events in Phoenix.
Layer 3: Immobilization. Adding immobilization devices like smart keys or kill switches may help prevent your vehicle from being hot-wired.
Layer 4: Tracking. Installing a tracking device on your vehicle may help with location and recovery should all the above precautions fail.
Additionally, the AATA operates the Watch Your Car decal program. Anyone who opts into this voluntary, free program places a decal on their car’s windshield. The decal serves as a visual notification to police and gives them authority to verify that the vehicle is being driven by its rightful owner, especially if it’s seen out between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
County and state programs to help deter auto theft depend on drivers to make good choices and take steps to protect their vehicles. In the event that your car is stolen, the AATA says being prepared can help law enforcement expedite the investigation and save you money in the long run.
Allstate Agent Peter Zipp is based in Goodyear. Address: 2403 N. Pebble Creek Parkway, Ste. 110, Goodyear, AZ 85395. Phone: (623) 208-6922