Special to Iredell Free News

​RALEIGH – In recognition of National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, the N.C. License and Theft Bureau ​wants to help vehicle owners protect their vehicles and property.

Today’s vehicle technology is more advanced, and thieves are smarter and more resourceful. If a thief can gain entry to your car, they have many ways to access wires or break the ignition to start the car and drive off with it. They can also use relay boxes to boost the radio frequency emitted by a key fob or smart key to access and drive off with vehicles.

The License and Theft Bureau would like vehicle owners to consider the following tips to deter vehicle thefts:

♦ Lock your car and take the keys or fob with you;
♦ Park in secure areas;
♦ Do not leave valuables in your car that may entice thieves;
♦ Invest in anti-theft devices, such as a car alarm, wheel lock or GPS tracking device; and
♦ Never leave your car running unattended, even during cold seasons, which is the most common time for auto thefts.

“The Bureau encourages drivers and passengers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and vehicle contents from theft by using the Lock It or Lose It approach,” said License & Theft Bureau Director Eric Copeland. “If the vehicle is locked and valuables are out of sight, you reduce your odds of being a crime statistic.”

According to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation “2019 Crime in N.C.” report released in December 2020, there was a 3.9 percent increase in motor vehicle thefts between 2018 and 2019. Data from the Insurance Information Institute indicates a national 26-year decline in motor vehicle thefts up to 2019, but these types of crimes have increased significantly since 2020.

Since 1921, the N.C. License and Theft Bureau has been tasked with preventing motor vehicle theft and fraud. The Bureau recovered 1,224 vehicles with a total value of $13.3 million in 2019 and 883 vehicles in 2020 with a total value of $8.9 million.

LEARN MORE

For more information about the Bureau, visit ncdot.gov and search “License and Theft”.

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