- Don’t leave keys in the car. This is the most preventable and easiest thing to do. Keys left in the car make for an easy target. Even on cold days when you might need to heat your car, don’t leave your vehicle unattended will running.
- Lock your car. If you’re leaving your car, lock it and take your keys. It was cited that most thefts, whether burglaries or vehicle thefts, are occurring in parking lots. It is easy for a thief to conceal themselves as they weave in and out of lanes of cars looking for easy targets.
- Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Southern Utah has experienced an uptick in criminal activity the last few years. Don’t be complacent and think that it couldn’t happen to you.
- Remove valuable items. From purses to electronics and more. If it’s valuable, take it with you or conceal it where it can’t be seen.
- Protect your identity. From bank cards, personal checks and even vehicle registration, thieves can use your personal items and documentation to steal your identity. Be cautious and remove anything that doesn’t need to be in your vehicle.
Now sometimes, despite doing everything right, your vehicle can still be targeted for burglary or theft. So what can you do if your vehicle is stolen or broken into?
- Assess your surroundings. You need to prioritize your safety. If you don’t feel safe, get to a safe area before you call for help.
- Document the scene. If the area is safe, take photos and video of the scene. If your car was burglarized, get front, side, and back photographs, as well as close up pictures of any visible damage such as broken windows or door damage from forcible entry.
- Write a list of stolen valuables. Thieves are interested in valuables, so check for missing purses, wallets, smartphones, and other items.
- Contact the authorities. Contact the non-emergency police department and file an official report. An officer may meet you at the scene. To help speed up the process have your driver’s license, vehicle make and model, license plate and registration handy. If your car is stolen, you may not have this information. To save yourself grief, take pictures of these items just in case you need them in the future.
- Protect yourself from identity theft. If credit and/or bank cards are stolen, you’ll want to contact your bank to cancel and send replacement cards. You can create a fraud alert with the top credit bureaus to make it more difficult for a thief to create new accounts in your name.
- File an insurance claim. Depending on the crime, you may have to file more than one claim. For any vehicle damage, you’ll file a comprehensive claim through your vehicle insurance. If any property was stolen from your vehicle or you have a stolen vehicle, you’ll file a claim through your homeowners’ policy. Your plans may have deductibles to cover repairs or lost items, so make sure you know your policies details so that you’re aware of any deductible expenses you may be responsible for when filing your claim.
It can feel like an emergency and be a huge inconvenience if you’re the victim of vehicle burglary or theft. When you don’t know what to do, contact McMullin Injury Law. We can answer your questions and make sure you get the help you need.
Learn more about statistics on motor vehicle thefts, stolen vehicles and related crimes from the National Insurance Crime Bureau here.