5 Reasons Why Car Theft Happens

The last two years have seen a dramatic increase in vehicle theft and property theft from vehicles.

In 2020 alone, $7.4b was lost due to vehicle theft, with 810,400 vehicles stolen. These numbers represent a near 12% year-on-year crime rate growth, and they are the worst set of figures since 2008.

Below, LotGuard's security reasons explore why car crime is rising and how business owners can protect their parking lots. 

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Why is Car Theft on the Rise?

Car crime rates steadily declined for several years but took a dramatic leap upwards in 2020 and then again in 2021. 

Experts, including the NICB, cite several contributing factors, including:

As the central factor in rising car crime rates, the global pandemic also meant cars were left unattended for extended periods due to stay-at-home mandates. 

But if the pandemic created conditions that led to increasing car theft, what were the direct reasons for particular vehicles being targetted? Below we outline the top 5 reasons why cars were stolen. 

1. Keys Left in Vehicles

Last year, 209 vehicles were stolen every day because the owner left their keys in the car. That's almost 10% of the total number of vehicle thefts - and it is entirely avoidable. 

This type of theft typically occurs over the winter months when the owner has left the vehicle running to defrost windows.

2. Valuables Left in Plain Sight

Criminals prey on retail parking lots as they are aware vehicles are likely to be unattended for several hours and are likely to be full of the owner's previous purchases.

Likewise, most thefts from vehicles happen because the owner has left valuable items on display or left a window ajar. Hiding valuable property away will reduce the chance of your car being targeted for a smash-and-grab robbery. 

3. Newer Vehicles Can be Stolen in Less than 10 Seconds

Stealing a car no longer requires brute force; keyless entry and push-to-start ignitions make it easier for car thieves to take a vehicle in seconds. 

Gone are the days of hotwiring a vehicle; tech-savvy criminals are now able to clone key fobs remotely and take their pick of modern cars.

4. Parking in Areas Without Surveillance

Although car theft can happen anywhere at any time, there are areas where instinct tells us are more high-risk. Side alleys, unlit parking garages, and areas without video surveillance systems are prime real estate for car thieves.

Cars are safer when parked in well-light areas covered by modern surveillance systems.

5. Lack of Vehicle Security

There are many ways to harden a vehicle against the risk of theft, some of the more effective methods, such as steering wheel locks, are seen as old-hat and lost popularity as vehicle thefts declined. These are among the best deterrents to thieves and a simple way to foil tech-savvy thieves.

Other security mechanisms include:

LotGuard: Parking Lot Surveillance System

If you own a commercial parking lot or property and are concerned about securing your customers, employees, or guests' vehicles, speak to LotGuard today.

LotGuard surveillance units provide complete parking lot security by detecting, deterringmitigating, and reporting criminal activity.

We can provide LotGuards regardless of your site's power or internet availability; they are fully autonomous surveillance units.

Ready to learn more about how WCCTV can protect your parking lots? Call our team today on 877 805-9475 or email

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