GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Be alert. You could be one of thousands of people whose cars are stolen over the New Year’s holiday. A report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau finds New Years Eve and New Year’s Day are prime days for thieves to target your wheels and what’s inside.
The key to keeping your car safe from theft is a basic rule, that many forget. Lock it.
“Like a moron, I left my truck open, so it really helps to lock your vehicle but you really have a false sense of security when it’s in your own driveway and I got a lot of things taken so it’s really unfortunate,” said Grant Lockford in Greenville.
A year ago Lankford’s new gun, Macbook and camera equipment were stolen out of his unlocked truck.
The NICB finds ranks New Year’s Eve second on the list of holidays with the most car break-ins and thefts. New Year’s Day is also high on the list. In 2015 more there were more than 4,000 car theft victims on those days. Halloween was saw the most thefts, but the year before it was New Year’s Eve.
It’s a time when people are out late, on break, there’s more presents in the car, and it’s cold outside.
“These cars are getting taken. They’re leaving them on just to keep them warm, but when they come back out, they’re gone,” said Master Deputy Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
Keep in mind, not only is it illegal to leave your car running unattended, but Flood says he’s seen insurance companies deny claims based on that.
You can also put the breaks on car thieves through visible deterrents like a pedal jack and a steering wheel lock GPS tracking devices can also provide peace of mind.
Always take every thing out of the car or stick it in the trunk where it’s site unseen.
Social media, like neighborhood Facebook pages and message groups are also powerful crime deterrents because of this:
“What we’re finding is the suspects who hit one location, normally they’re hitting several locations within that facility,” said Flood.
So if it happens to you, the first thing to do is warn your neighbors.
Car and home vandalism also tends to spike around New Years, so keep those flood lights on and alarm system signs visible.
Finally, if you’re used to using your garage for storage, considering clearing it out so you can protect one of your most expensive assets.