Prevention Tips

layered approach


• Lock your doors

• Remove your keys from the ignition

• Close your windows completely 

• Park in well-lit areas

• Audible alarms
• Steering column collars
• Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
• Brake locks
• Wheel locks
• Theft deterrent decals
• Identification markers in or on vehicle
• Window etching
• Micro Dot marking


  • Smart keys

  • Fuse cut-offs

  • Kill switches

  • Starter. ignition and fuel disablers

  • Wireless. ignition authentication


Put your vehicle on the radar screen by installing a tracking system that emits asignal to the police or monitoring service when the vehicle is reported stolen.Some systems employ "telematics" which combine GPS and wireless technologiesto allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved. the system willalert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked by computer.

Why cars are stolen?

Vehicles may be stolen for any of a number of reasons and to further any number of purposes. Here are some of them:

  • To sell the entire vehicle

  • To sell the parts

  • To obtain transportation

  • To trade for drugs

  • To go joyriding

  • To commit other crimes

  • To commit insurance fraud

  • To clone your vehicle

What can you do to reduce the risk?

1. Take Your Keys. One out of every five vehicles stolen had the keys

    in it. 

2. Lock Your Car. Almost half of all vehicles stolen were left


3. Don’t Hide a Second Set of Keys in Your Car. Extra keys can 

    easily be found if a thief takes time to look. 

4. Park in Well-Lighted Areas. 

5. Park in Attended Lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and

    prefer unattended parking lots. 

6. Only give ignition/door key to parking attendant. If your trunk

    and glove box use the same key as the door, have one of them


7. Don’t leave your car running unattended. Vehicles are commonly

    stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATM’s, etc. Many

    vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves

    the vehicle running to warm up. 

8. Completely Close Car Windows When Parking. Don’t make it any

    easier for the thief to enter your vehicle. 

9. Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain View. Don’t make your car a more 

    desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain


10. Park With Your Wheels Turned Towards the Curb. Make your

      car tough to tow away. Wheels should also be turned to the side

      in driveways and parking lots.

NICB's VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.

1997 HondaAccord.jpg
The 2017 most  stolen cars in Washington. 
Did yours make the list?

  Rank        Name                                                      Year

  1.             Honda Accord                                        1997

  2.             Honda Civic                                            1998

  3.             Ford Pickup (Full Size)                          1999

  4.             Subaru Legacy                                       1996

  5.             Toyota Camry                                         1991

  6.             Honda CR-V                                            1999

  7.             Acura Integra                                         1995

  8.             Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)                 1997

  9.             Toyota Corolla                                        1995

  10.             Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee          1996

A layered approach to protecting your vehicle

To protect their investment, vehicle owners are urged to follow NCIB’s “Layered Approach” to auto theft prevention by employing simple, low-cost suggestions to make their vehicles less attractive to thieves. NICB’s four layers of protection are:

Common Sense: The cheapest form of defense is to simply employ the anti-theft devices that are standard on all vehicles: locks. Lock your car and take your keys.


Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.


Immobility Device: “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs, and smart keys are among the devices which are among the devices which are high and low tech, but extremely effective. Generally speaking, if your car won’t start, it won’t get stolen.


Tracking Device: If your vehicle is stolen, these systems help law enforcement track and recover it quickly. Some systems will even inform you if your vehicle has been moved without your knowledge.

 Good to know!


Not all stolen cars are used just for transportation or stripped for parts. 

Many are resold to unknowing and unsuspecting buyers.
If you knowingly buy a stolen car, you can be arrested. 


Even if you buy a stolen car unknowingly, you could lose the car and your money.

Stolen 911 is the online database of Stolen Motorcycles. We've made Stolen 911 the easiest way to get your stolen motorcycle indexed by the Major Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Once posted, we provide you with a simple way to share your stolen ride's listing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We hope our site can help and generate some leads. We wish you the best in recovering your stolen bike.

Laptops, GPS systems, purses, and wallets are only a few of the things reported stolen from vehicles. 

What's your stolen property worth? 

Listen to the King & Pierce County Auto Theft Task Force's radio commercial and you may be NOT SO pleasantly surprised!

 "The Nation's Neighborhood Watch for Stolen Vehicles."
StolenCarReports has two primary functions.
First, StolenCarReports is a vehicle recovery resource for individuals who have had their vehicles stolen. Second, StolenCarReports offers an opportunity for the public to help their neighbors and communities deal with the growing problem of vehicle theft in a safe manner. 

Our Mission: To increase the number of stolen vehicles recovered and shorten the time required to recover stolen vehicles, thereby bringing enormous cost savings to automobile owners, insurance companies, and law enforcement agencies and helping to deter auto theft. Our commitment to improving our communities through using technology to help one another includes donating all profits to charity.

Kids R Key!

Let the kids have fun learning about Auto Theft Prevention too!


The Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority (WATPA) published this coloring book as an educational resource for children’s community outreach programs to understand the basic principles to help prevent auto theft.


All illustrations are the property of ALISON “LARRY” PAGE and have been used in this book with her authorization. If your agency has an interest in reproducing this book or creating one with your specific information please contact her directly at


Click here to view and print book.

ColorBook AT Cover.jpg

                                                        Myths & Facts About Car Theft & How to Avoid It

                                                                          You may have already seen tips from your auto insurer or local police about how to protect your                                                                              car from theft. Most of this advice is plain common sense: take your keys and valuables with you,                                                                            lock your doors, roll up your windows, avoid parking in dark places, etc. Unfortunately some      

                                                                          "tips" only perpetuate urban legends from twenty years ago.  Car theft is a multi-billion dollar

                                                                          business run by professionals that has evolved since the 1980s when it last peaked during the

                                                                          the "crack epidemic". Here are some misconceptions and facts about car theft today.


MYTH: Car theft is a non-violent, "one-victim" crime. It's estimated that 90% of all stolen cars are involved in a secondary crime like robbery, drug transportation and people smuggling. That works out to about a million secondary crimes associated with car theft every year. In Canada, they figure a stolen car is over 200 times more likely to be involved in an accident than average. A stolen car is very dangerous.


MYTH: It's mostly joyriding - no harm no foul. The relatively few car thieves who do it "just for kicks" are usually underage or under-the-influence. Twelve-year-old kids don't know how to drive safely even if they wanted to. Car thieves on meth know that police are under orders to avoid high-speed pursuit. So when a police cruiser is following them, they escape by intentionally driving recklessly at high speed. With a life expectancy of five years, a meth addict knows no fear behind the wheel.


MYTH: If your car is stolen, your insurance will make you whole. If you have ever sold your car to a used car dealer, you know there is a spread between what he pays you and his selling price. For most cars, it's 15-25%. Guess, which amount you'll get from your insurer? You won't get anything for your inconvenience or mental anguish and don't forget your deductible. If you lose a $20,000 car, you are probably out $5,000.


MYTH: A car alarm or steering wheel lock will stop most car thieves. After years of aggravation, car alarms are now viewed as a major source of noise pollution. They don't do much to stop theft either. Most of us ignore them if we can. Dedicated professionals and tweaking meth addicts alike can disable alarms in a few minutes. Likewise bypassing a steering wheel lock requires only a hacksaw and a few minutes. Active anti-theft devices like "clubs" and "brake locks" are only effective if you remember to use them.


MYTH: Didn't you see 'Gone in 60 Seconds?' Car thieves are cool. Would you leave your wallet filled with $25,000 in cash in your driveway? From a risk-reward perspective, car theft ranks near the top. It attracts international criminal gangs, most with ties to terrorism, drug dealing and prostitution. Car theft is also a major source of cash flow for drug addicts who cannot hold down a regular job. In the West, police estimate that over 70% of all car thieves are meth addicts. Not cool.


MYTH: Car theft is just not that important compared to "serious" crime. Car theft is the largest property crime in the United States. The Highway Loss Data Institute, a US insurance industry-sponsored organization estimates that the average car theft costs the insurance industry over $6,000. Adding the uninsured out-of-pocket costs to owners and the additional burden on the law enforcement and health care systems, CASI estimates the total cost of an "average" car theft is over $10,000. With over 1.2 million car thefts in 2002, car theft represented a drag of over $12 billion on the US economy and this grows almost every year.


FACT: Car thieves will always be with us. There will always be car thieves, but we can cut their numbers. In Europe, South Africa, Canada and Australia, governments have stiffened relevant regulations on carmakers and owners. The smart keys you see on high-end cars in the U.S. have been mandatory on all cars in Europe for almost 10 years. With widespread uptake of electronic immobilizers and vehicle parts marking systems, car theft has dropped as much as 50% in some countries. Thieves are getting smarter but there are fewer of them. It's just not that great of a business any more. We can do the same with an aggressive program of education, regulation and financial incentives to bring modern automotive security technology to the U.S. Until then, take the common sense advice and look out for your car.


The above article was borrowed with permission from Road & Travel Magazine. For other great car, travel, safety tips and information visit them online at 
Road & Travel Magazine 
Traffic & Travel Link


The Lexington Police Department is warning people about car break-ins through a musical PSA video. 


(Click on photo to be directed to video)