Did you know that in Maryland, a car is stolen every 49 minutes? In the United States, it is every 39 seconds. 50% of the vehicles stolen had the keys left inside the vehicle. During the winter months this problem increases as drivers warm their vehicles by leaving them running and unattended. By doing this driver create an opportunity for a jump-in vehicle theft. Please review the following information to learn how to prevent jump-in vehicle theft and keep your vehicle safe:
What is Jump-in Vehicle Theft?
- Jump-in vehicle theft occurs when a vehicle is left running and unattended and a thief “jumps-in” and steals the vehicle. This type of theft is a crime of opportunity. As vehicle security systems become more advanced, thieves look for situations where a vehicle is unlocked, and the key or fob is left in the car.
How does Jump-in vehicle theft happen?
- As a matter of convenience, drivers occasionally leave a vehicle running and unattended. This offers a car thief the opportunity to “jump-in” to the vehicle and drive off.
Where can Jump-in vehicle theft occur?
- Common places for jump-in theft to occur include coffee shops, convenience stores, gas stations, daycare centers, parking lots, and even in front of the driver's home. Jump-ins can occur anytime you make a quick stop, and you leave your vehicle running unattended. A brief stop can have you second-guessing the need to turn off a vehicle.
How Can You Prevent Jump-in Vehicle Theft?
- Drivers should commit to turning off the vehicle, taking the keys, and locking the doors when leaving the vehicle.
- When fueling up, remove the keys and keep them with you.
- Maryland winters can be cold - it may seem like a good idea to warm up your car and leave it unattended. An unattended running car is illegal and an easy target for a thief walking through the neighborhood looking for an opportunity.
- Pay attention to your surroundings when exiting or entering your vehicle. If something doesn’t look right, make a plan to avoid the situation.
- There are many reasons not to leave kids or pets in a running vehicle. Remember, if your vehicle is stolen, and your child or pet is in the vehicle, they may also be stolen. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of kids and pets being inside a vehicle when it’s stolen. Please turn off your vehicle and remove the keys and valuables and lock it before walking away.