HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Understanding Auto Theft
Many auto thefts are crimes of “opportunity”. Leaving the keys in your car greatly increases your chances of having your car stolen.
Leaving your vehicle unoccupied with the engine running, even for a minute, greatly increases the chance that your car will be stolen. It is truly a helpless feeling to watch your car being driven away by a total stranger as you stand feet away. Take your keys with you even for quick trips.
- More than two thirds of all auto thefts occur at night.
- Approximately 86% of the stolen vehicles are recovered
- While some vehicles are definitely stolen to be sold, or dismantled for parts, the large
majority are simply used as temporary transportation by common criminals. Thus, most
vehicles are recovered within a few weeks.
- Auto theft happens fast. An expert auto thief can break into and steal a car in less
than a minute. An unoccupied car, with its engine running, can be taken in seconds.
What Attracts a Car Thief?
- Leaving your car unlocked or the windows down.
- Leaving your keys in the car or a spare key hidden in the car.
- Leaving your car unattended.
- Parking in poorly lit places with low visibility.
- Leaving valuables and packages in your car.
- Cars not protected with an anti-theft device.
How to Protect Your Car
- Don’t leave your keys in your car.
- Close your windows and lock your doors whenever you leave your car, regardless of how long you plan to be gone.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Keep your car in a garage if you have one.
- Park in lots that have attendants.
- Use an anti-theft device whenever you leave your car.
- When parking your car, turn your wheels toward the curb to make it more difficult for a thief to “tow” your car.
- Use your emergency brake when you park.
- Engrave your driver’s license number preceded by the state letters (OH) or your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on any removable equipment in your car.
- Immediately report any suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office
When You Are In Your Car
- Keep your doors and windows locked, no matter how short the distance or how “safe” the neighborhood.
- When you’re coming to a stop, leave enough space to maneuver around other cars. If you sense trouble; this will allow you the room needed to get away.
- If a suspicious-looking person approaches your car, drive away carefully.
- Drive in the inside (center) lane to make it more difficult for would-be carjackers to approach your car.
- Don’t stop to assist a stranger whose car has broken down. Instead, help by using your cell phone to call the sheriff’s office for help.
If Your Stolen Car is Recovered
Prior to using it, it is always a good idea to carefully examine your recovered stolen vehicle for property that does not belong to you, which may be evidence of other crimes. Also, you may want to search your vehicle’s interior carefully (using a flashlight) to make sure drugs, drug paraphernalia, or dangerous objects such as syringes, have not been left behind. To turn over any evidence or contraband to the law enforcement.