With Christmas right around the corner, and New Year’s Eve and Day quickly following, it’s a good time to be extra vigilant about car thieves on the prowl.
Data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for vehicle theft in 2010 shows the following 11 holidays provided thieves with the best opportunities to make away with cars.
Quick fact: Four of the 11 are just weeks away, including two big holiday weekend periods.
1. New Year’s Day 2,347
2. Memorial Day 2,122
3. Halloween 2,064
4. Labor Day 2,020
5. New Year’s Eve 1,986
6. Christmas Eve 1,928
7. Independence Day 1,914
8. President’s Day 1,903
9. Valentine’s Day 1,745
10. Thanksgiving 1,605
11. Christmas Day 1,361
Diving into the full report, what’s interesting to note is that five states rank highest in holiday vehicle thefts. In order of number of holiday thefts, the top five states are California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Georgia.
Bucking the national trend of New Year’s Day being the holiday with the highest number of thefts, California thieves’ big day was President’s Day 2010, when 507 vehicles were stolen. Each of the other top five holiday theft states posted the most thefts on New Year’s Day: Texas (248), Florida (168), Illinois (93) and Georgia (90).
Still, there are things you can do to help prevent your vehicle from being snatched by car thieves this holiday season. It all starts with being aware of your surroundings.
First and foremost, park only in well-lit areas. If a spot is shrouded by shrubs or cloaked in darkness, it’s not worth taking a chance to park your vehicle there.
Second, always lock your doors, even if you’re only going to be out of the vehicle for a few minutes.
Third, while it is best never to leave any packages in the car, if you’re still shopping and have no other choice, definitely secure them in the trunk and out of sight. Better yet, drive home and drop them off, if at all possible.
Fourth, it makes a great deal of sense to know the area you’ll be going to before you go there for holiday parties or get-togethers. Do map quest searches, blow up the results, and find safe, secure parking areas before you venture out. Trying to save money by parking on the street when a valet parking service in a monitored lot or structure is available is like spitting in the wind. You never know when it’s going to come back at you.