July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month and it’s a crime that we frequently deal with in Lexington County.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cost of stolen vehicles in the United States added up to more than $5 billion in 2015. To make it worse, 42 percent of stolen vehicles are never recovered.

While there are some vehicle thefts that are unpreventable, here are a few tips to make sure your car isn’t an easy target:

  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Never leave your car running
  • Close all windows before you leave a vehicle
  • Lock your doors when you park, even if you’re running a quick errand
  • Never leave your keys inside your vehicle
  • Don’t leave valuable items in plain sight

Many of the vehicle thefts we’ve seen in our county happen when a person runs inside a store or home for a quick errand while their car is still running with the keys inside. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to jump in the driver’s seat and take off.

It might seem unnecessary to turn off and lock your car while you’re grabbing something just inside your home or at the gas station, but it’s a quick way to make it exponentially harder for your vehicle to be stolen.

The next time you park, take a few extra minutes to make sure your car is fully secure before you leave. It doesn’t take long, and it could help you from adding on to the growing statistic of vehicle thefts.