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Auto Theft

A vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in the United States, and in 1997 over 1,500,000 vehicles were stolen.

Stolen cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles cause economic hardship for victims, increase everyone's insurance premiums, and may be used to commit other violent crimes.

Facts about Auto Theft in Florida

  • Florida ranks second in the nation in the number of vehicles stolen.
  • In Florida, 46% of those arrested for auto theft are juveniles.
  • Approximately 25% of the vehicles stolen in Florida had the keys in the ignition.
  • Most of the cars stolen in the City of St. Petersburg are, on average, at least 5 years old.

How to protect yourself

  • Always close all windows, lock all doors and take the keys with you.
  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
  • Never hide a key in your vehicle.
  • Park your vehicle with the wheels turned. This makes your vehicle difficult to tow.
  • Copy your license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN) on a card and keep them on you with your driver’s license.
  • Always park in a well lighted area.
  • Always use an anti-theft device.

Anti-Theft Devices

  • Etch the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the windows, doors, fenders, and truck lid. This helps discourage professional thieves who have to either remove or replace etched parts before selling the vehicle.
  • Install a mechanical device – commonly called clubs and collars, that locks to the steering wheel or column to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees.

  • Install an anti-thief system – a system that typically includes siren alarms, starter disablers (kill switch), motion sensors, remote control activation, and panic buttons.
  • Install a radio transmitter system in a secret place within the vehicle body. If the vehicle is stolen, the transmitter is activated by radio and the stolen vehicle is located via the radio homing device.

A few common sense steps, can help you avoid being a victim of the nations fastest growing property crime.

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