Reasons Why Car Theft Happens and How To Prevent Them

In today's world, car theft remains an unfortunate reality, with thieves constantly seeking opportunities to seize vehicles. Understanding the common reasons behind car thefts is the first step towards protecting your prized possession. In this blog, we'll delve into the key factors driving car theft incidents up and introduce you to LotGuard's expert insights and solutions to help safeguard your vehicles and 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. 

What are the reasons why car theft is on the rise?

In recent years, the rise in car theft incidents has raised concerns among vehicle owners and law enforcement agencies alike. Several factors contribute to this troubling trend, from economic pressures to evolving theft techniques. 

Understanding these reasons is crucial for implementing effective prevention strategies and safeguarding your vehicle. Here, we explore the key factors driving the surge in car thefts, shedding light on the challenges and solutions in today's automobile security landscape.


Economic Factors

Economic downturns or financial instability can drive some individuals to engage in criminal activities, including car theft, to make quick money.


High Demand for Parts

Stolen cars are often stripped for valuable parts or sold for their components, which can be more lucrative than selling the entire vehicle.


Advanced Theft Techniques

Criminals have become more sophisticated in their methods, using technology and hacking tools to gain access to vehicles with keyless entry systems or immobilizers.


Opportunistic Theft

Many car thefts occur due to opportunities provided by car owners who leave their vehicles unlocked, engines running, or keys easily accessible.


Inadequate Security Measures

Some vehicles lack proper security features, making them more vulnerable to theft. Older models may not have the latest anti-theft technology.


Drug Addiction

People struggling with substance abuse issues may turn to car theft as a means to fund their habits.


Regional Trends

Car theft rates can vary by region, often influenced by law enforcement efforts, economic conditions, and local criminal activity.


Export Market

Stolen cars are sometimes shipped to other countries, where they can be sold at a higher price.


Chop Shops

Illicit businesses known as "chop shops" dismantle stolen cars and sell the parts, making it difficult to trace the stolen vehicles.



Some car thefts are committed by individuals seeking a temporary thrill or joyride, with no intention of keeping the stolen vehicle.

It's important to note that while car theft rates may fluctuate over time, law enforcement agencies and communities continually work to implement measures to deter car theft and apprehend criminals involved in such activities. Car owners can also take steps to protect their vehicles, such as using anti-theft devices, parking in locations that are well lit and have surveillance cameras, and being vigilant about security practices.


What are cars so easy to steal?

Cars can be vulnerable to theft due to various reasons. Older models and some basic versions often lack modern security features, making them easier targets. Keyless entry systems, while convenient, can be hacked, and immobilizers may sometimes fail to deter thieves. Stolen keys, cyber attacks, and quick resale opportunities also contribute to car theft.

Additionally, car owners' lapses in vigilance, like leaving vehicles unlocked or unattended keys, create openings for opportunistic theft. Parking in poorly lit or remote areas can exacerbate the risk. To protect your vehicle, consider anti-theft devices, secure parking, and heightened awareness about your keys' whereabouts.


How do car thefts happen?

Car thefts manifest in various ways, often exploiting vulnerabilities in vehicle security systems. Thieves may use techniques like keyless entry system hacking or stealing keys during break-ins. Immobilizer bypass methods can enable them to start the engine without the proper key. The allure of quick resale or stripping cars for valuable parts motivates many thefts. Modern cars' reliance on technology opens avenues for cyber attacks and hacking tools. Inadequate parking security and remote, poorly lit locations can further attract thieves. 

Recognizing these methods is vital for car owners, prompting them to employ preventive measures like anti-theft devices, secure parking choices, and heightened key security to safeguard their vehicles.


What is Keyless Car Theft?

Keyless car theft, also known as relay theft or relay attack, is a sophisticated method used by thieves to steal vehicles equipped with keyless entry and start systems.

It usually involves two thieves working together, typically using electronic devices. One thief stands near the victim's home with a device that captures the signal from the car's key fob. The captured signal is then relayed to the second thief who is near the car, effectively tricking the vehicle's system into thinking the key fob is present, allowing them to unlock and start the car. 

This method can be quick and stealthy, making it a growing concern for car owners. To prevent keyless car theft, it's essential to use protective measures such as signal-blocking pouches for key fobs or investing in steering wheel locks and other anti-theft devices.


Can car thieves disable trackers?

Yes, car thieves can disable GPS trackers if they have the knowledge and tools to do so. While GPS trackers are effective in many cases for tracking and recovering stolen vehicles, determined thieves may use techniques to disable them. Common methods include physically removing the tracker, jamming the GPS signal, or using signal blockers to interfere with the tracker's communication. 

To enhance security, it's crucial to choose reputable tracking systems with tamper alerts and hidden installations. Additionally, combining GPS tracking with other anti-theft measures, such as steering wheel locks or immobilizers, can further deter theft and increase the chances of recovery.

What happens when your stolen car is found?

When your stolen car is found, several things typically happen:

  1. Police Notification:
    The police are generally the ones who locate and recover stolen vehicles. They will contact you to inform you that your car has been found.

  2. Vehicle Condition
    The condition of your car when it's found can vary. It may be in the same condition as when it was stolen, damaged, or even stripped of parts, depending on where and how it was recovered.

  3. Investigation
    The police will investigate the theft to gather evidence and possibly identify the thieves. If they apprehend suspects, you may be asked to cooperate in the legal process.

  4. Insurance Claims
    If you have comprehensive auto insurance that covers theft, you can file a claim with your insurance company to help cover the cost of any damage or loss that occurred during the theft. You'll need to provide the police report and other relevant information to your insurer.

  5. Recovery and Repairs
    Once the police have completed their investigation and your insurance claim is processed, you can take possession of your recovered vehicle. Depending on its condition, you may need to arrange for repairs if it was damaged.

  6. Preventing Future Theft
    After your car is found, consider taking additional security measures to prevent future theft, such as installing anti-theft devices or parking in safer locations.

It's crucial to stay in contact with the police and your insurance company throughout the process to ensure a smooth resolution. Keep records of all communications and paperwork related to the theft and recovery of your vehicle.

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