Skip to Main Content
Maryland State Police News Release

Learn The Facts About Vehicle Theft Prevention – July Is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

Auto Theft Facts

Common misconceptions about car theft:

  1. Maryland has one of the worst car theft rates in the country.
  2. They don’t want to steal this old piece of junk.
  3. They won’t steal my car from in front of my house.
  4. Most car thefts occur at the mall, the park & ride or other parking lot.
  5. Most car thieves can steal anything. If they really want it, they can have it. Why bother using anti-theft devices?
  6. The Club is easily defeated. I saw it on TV.
  7. The new cars with high-tech keys can’t be stolen.

FACTS about vehicle theft in Maryland:

  • In Maryland a car is stolen every 39 minutes.
  • 2/3 of thefts are older vehicles. Why?
    • People fall out of love with their vehicles and are less apt to take precautions against theft (the bumper sticker that says “Steal My Car. Please.”)
    • Older ignitions wear out and are easier to defeat than new,
    • Older cars are easier to steal anyway—few protections
    • Newer cars have transponder technology in their ignition systems.
  • 66% of all auto thefts take place at night, most often in front of a residence.
  • 95% of stolen cars use NO anti-theft device
  • In a Baltimore study, in a six-month period, of 400 high-theft rate cars with steering wheel locks in high-theft neighborhoods, only 4 were stolen (1%) NONE were stolen with the steering wheel lock in place. Thieves chose cars without anti-theft devices.
  • 25% of cars are stolen WITH keys in the ignition. Never leave a car running unattended. It’s illegal and unwise

What Trends are we seeing?

  • Older Cars are stolen for scrap metal weight—usually taken by tow truck.
  • Motorcycles—ATV’s and off road bikes are stolen in burglaries of sheds.
  • Title Fraud, Insurance Fraud and Finance Fraud.
  • Thefts of cars with keys in the ignition (Jump in Thefts)
  • “Defective Victims/ witnesses” not telling the truth as to the theft of their vehicles (i.e.: the victim’s son gave up the car for drugs).

What are they stealing?  Remember: older cars

1. 2002 Dodge Caravan
2. 1997 Honda Accord
3. 2006 Ford Pick-Up (Full Size)
4. 2011 Toyota Camry
5. 2000 Honda Civic
6. 2005 Nissan Altima
7. 1996 Jeep Cherokee
8. 2001 Chrysler Town & Country
9. 2010 Toyota Corolla
10. 1997 Chevrolet Pick-Up

New Cars, with transponders systems are stolen with keys. That can happen through: burglary, carjacking, fraud, family member lends out car.

Are thefts up or down?: They are down

Maryland                       2012: 14,492   2013: 13,429   2014: 13,146

Anti Theft TIPS …

  1. Lock your car and take the keys with you
  2. Never leave your car running unattended
  3. Never leave valuables visible in your vehicle
  4. Use an anti-theft device
  5. Install a vehicle recovery tracking system in vehicle

Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council

Please note: The methods for preventing car theft have been known for years. The usual problem is that people get lax. Thieves only need an opportunity and an instant in time to steal your car with the keys left in the ignition. It’s that one moment when you say…”I’ll be OK, no one will steal my car” and you leave it running, and….

For more information, contact:

Christopher T. McDonold, Executive Director

Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council