The Anti-Vehicle Crime Association of Minnesota (AVCAM) is a non-profit organization formed to prevent vehicle crime through community awareness and education. Our members come from law enforcement, insurance companies and other organizations and businesses interested in preventing vehicle crime. AVCAM has no paid staff and operates solely with member volunteers. The AVCAM message is clear and succinct:  Lock Your Car.  Take Your Keys.  Prevent A Theft.

MelbaA car is stolen in Minnesota every hour of every day in every month all year long. Think about it. While you were sleeping, 8 cars were stolen. Over the weekend, 72 cars are stolen. Take a two week vacation and 336 vehicles vanish. The numbers can be staggering. The biggest problem is the opportunity we’re giving thieves to do their dirty work. A thief is basically a lazy entrepreneur.

If he has to work too hard to make his money he’ll just move on to another victim. When we give a thief the opportunity to steal from us, he’s going to take it! So, the key is eliminating the opportunity factor so he moves on down the street. But, if you’re hell-bent on having you’re car stolen, here are a few tips to make sure the job gets done!

1. Leave your car doors unlocked

Many auto thefts happen when people forget to lock their doors. A locked door is your first line of defense. Most car thieves won't bother breaking into a locked car when there’s an unlocked car sitting next to it. Lock your car and the opportunity is gone.

2. Park your car in dark places

You need to trust your instincts on this one. Dark places and thieves were meant for each other. Park in a dark area and chances are you’re not only being watched, but also your car will be gone when you return. If you think it’s a bad place to park then it probably is. Reduce the opportunity for theft by parking in a well-lit area.

3. Don't use anti-theft devices

Thieves hate attention. Visible or audible warning devices can turn them away from your vehicle. Another good anti-theft device is an ignition kill switch that prevents thieves from starting your engine. The ultimate in anti-theft devices is a GPS system. The less opportunities you create for a theft, the safer your car will be.

4. Leave your keys in your car at home

Don’t get too comfortable at home. Thieves cruise neighborhoods looking for opportunities to take a car. Just because it’s in your driveway doesn’t mean it’s safe. Always lock your car and use anti-theft devices, even when parked at home. If you have a garage, use it and keep it locked.

5. Hang a “Steal Me” sign on your old car

Actually, older cars are prime targets. Why? 1) They are easier to break into, and 2) Their parts are very valuable on the black market. An older car is an opportunity to make some serious money. Park smart!

6. Leave the engine running and go take a walk

In Minnesota it’s common to see cars warming up on the cold winter mornings. This isn’t such a good idea. A 4 year old could steal that car! You may pay a big price for a little convenience because it only take seconds for a thief to see an opportunity and drive off with your car.

Eliminate the Opportunity

No one method is foolproof, but the more layers of security you create, the greater the chance that a car thief simply will move on to an easier target. PS: If you intentionally try to get your car stolen it’s insurance fraud. (Not good.)