In the United States, a vehicle is stolen every 41 seconds, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Stolen cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles cost victims time and money—and increase everyone’s insurance premiums. They’re also often used to commit other crimes. Here are some easy ways you and your family can reduce your chances of falling victim to this serious crime.

  • Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you’re away from it, even for “just a minute.”
  • Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it’s in front of your home.
  • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight. It’s always best to bring them inside with you.
  • Park in busy, well-lighted areas.
  • Carry your registration and insurance card with you. Don’t leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.

For added protection, it’s never a bad idea to install a mechanical locking device—commonly called clubs, collars or j-bars—that locks to the steering wheel, column or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees.

If you ever become a car theft victim, contact law enforcement immediately to file a report. You’ll need a copy of that report, or at least a case number, to provide to your insurance company. If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact law enforcement and your insurance company immediately.