Auto Theft Prevention

Don't Become a Victim of Auto Theft

Auto Theft Poster - 2008

In 2009, there were 2,787 vehicles stolen in Stockton.  In many of the thefts, the victims left their vehicle unattended and unlocked while it was warming up.


It takes only a few seconds for a thief to enter a running vehicle and drive away.   Auto theft drives insurance premiums up, and many times stolen vehicles are used to commit other crimes.


Your vehicle may also be at an extra risk of being stolen if it is a popular model for thieves. 



In 2009, the top 10 models of stolen vehicles nationwide  were:

  •  Honda Civic
  •  Honda Accord
  •  Toyota Camry
  •  Ford Truck
  •  Chevy Truck
  •  Acura Integra
  •  Dodge Ram P/U
  •  Nissan Sentra
  •  Toyota Truck
  •  Toyota Corolla   

Click here to view Photos of Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in 2010.


Tips to Avoid Auto Theft

Stockton Police recommend these tips to avoid becoming a victim of auto theft:  

  • Never leave your car running or leave the key in the ignition unattended.
    • Not even to dash into a business, convenience store, gas station, or ATM.  
    • Many vehicles are stolen on cold mornings when a vehicle is left running to warm up.
    • Leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime in some states.  A citation may be issued in Stockton.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock the vehicle, even if it's in front of your home.  
  • Park in well-lit areas.  Over half of all vehicle thefts occur at night.
  • If  you have a garage, use it.  Parking outside makes your vehicle more vulnerable.
  • Record your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). 
    • Stolen cars/parts are more easily traced when vehicle VIN numbers are etched on car windows and major parts.  Keep the VIN in a safe place to assist police in identifying your vehicle in the event it is stolen.
  • Never leave underage children unattended in your vehicle – it is unsafe and illegal.


Decreasing Risk

Image of Steering Wheel Locking Device

Anti-theft devices really do work and most new cars now come with factory-installed theft devices.  If your vehicle does not have a device many auto parts stores offer protection options such as steering wheel and brake lock (called a club, collar or j-bar) that lock to the steering column or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned.  Ignition cutoff switches, voltage sensing device (which triggers an alarm when a power drain is detected), and motion sensing devices.

  • Audio alarms emit loud warning sounds when the doors, hood, or trunk are open.
  • Vehicle tracking systems, installed in your vehicle, are activated when your vehicle is stolen.  These systems alert the police to the location of your vehicle for quick recovery.


External Links

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This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 6/4/2015