By: Evanne Armour, WAVY.com
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WAVY) – You are more likely to have your car stolen in the summer than any other time of year.
“Really, all of us potentially could be a victim of auto theft,” said First Sergeant Steve Hall of the Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program.
The program works closely with local law enforcement and the Department of Motor Vehicles to educate people about best practices for protecting their vehicles.
July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month in Virginia.
Traditionally, July has been the busiest month for car thieves in the commonwealth, but data from last year shows August has now taken the top spot.
In 2015 there were 8,103 motor vehicle theft offenses in Virginia. In 2016 there were 9,575. That’s an 18 percent jump.
Hall said most victims think it would never happen to them or that nobody would want to steal their car.
But he said the reasons why a thief would swipe your car can vary. Some will sell it whole, others will take it to a chop shop and pawn the pieces and some thieves just want to take a joyride.
Hall said there are some simple things you can do to help better your chances of not becoming a victim.
“Even if you’re just running into the dry cleaners, the convenient store, whatever it is – turn the car off, take your keys, do not leave spare keys in there,” he said.
In Virginia, nearly one in four stolen cars had the keys inside at the time.
Get rid of any signs of valuables. Even if you take your phone and expensive sunglasses with you, don’t leave behind your charging cable or sunglasses case.
“Put those away so folks can’t see them,” said Hall.
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