Maryland State Police Reminds Motorists Of Steps To Reduce Vehicle Thefts As Winter Season Approaches

Per the Maryland State Police:
As we near the winter holiday season, motorists need to remember to take the proper precautions to reduce the chances of their vehicles being stolen.

This is especially true right now for owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, which have been stolen at increased rates both in Maryland and nationwide, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. (NICB). Nationally, there were a combined 59,991 Hyundai and Kia stolen this year through Aug. 31. This compares to 58,683 for all of 2021.

The Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council recommends that if you have a 2016-2021 Hyundai or 2011-2021 Kia model that is started by a key, consider taking the following preventive measures:

  • Purchase a steering wheel lock. These are relatively inexpensive and are an excellent visual deterrent to thieves.
  • Purchase a security kit recently released by Hyundai and Kia. Contact a local dealership for more information.
  • Practice standard vehicle theft safety measures such as parking in a secured access lot or personal garage if you have one.

According to the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, a car is stolen every 49 minutes in Maryland and every 39 seconds in the United States. Overall, 10,683 vehicles were stolen in Maryland in 2020, down from 11,255 in 2019. Of those, 50 percent of vehicles stolen in Maryland had keys inside the vehicle and 60 percent of the vehicles stolen were left unlocked.

Maryland State Police also want to remind motorists that leaving any vehicle running unattended not only increases the chances of it getting stolen, it is also illegal.  According to state law, police can issue a ticket with a $70 fine and one point against your driving record for such a violation. Also, if the vehicle slips out of gear and causes an accident, you could be issued a ticket with a $110 fine and three points against your driving record.

Simply taking a few steps greatly reduce the chances of a motorist having their vehicle stolen. These steps include:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • Do not leave your keys/key fobs in your vehicle.
  • Always stow away your valuables.

The Maryland General Assembly created the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council in 1994 as a statewide planning and dedicated funding resource. The Council embraces a statewide strategy directed at public awareness, vehicle theft by juveniles, law enforcement and prosecution through a grant award process. Efforts by the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council have led to a more than 72 percent reduction of vehicle thefts in Maryland over the past 28 years.

For more information on vehicle thefts in Maryland, click here and here.

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