According to SGI, the number of car theft claims reported to them has risen 46% over the last five years.
"About five years ago, there were just under 2,000 claims reported to SGI," explained Tyler McMurchy, Manager of Media Relations, "and in our last fiscal year, we had 2,824 theft claims reported. The cost of those claims totalled $24.6 million."
"We don't collect the information when we take your claim but what police are telling us is that half of the auto thefts they see started with someone leaving their keys in the vehicle. We are just asking people to not make a thief's job easy. We're asking people to not leave their keys in the ignition or in their console or in the glove box, under a floor mat, or even in the garage nearby. Thieves know where people tend to hide their keys and they can find them pretty quick."
"We're just asking people to take a couple of steps to protect what is really a significant investment. You wouldn't leave thousands of dollars unguarded on your driveway so we're asking people to not do that with their vehicle as well."
SGI had several stolen vehicles that they recovered on display to show how your car is often treated when it is stolen.
"Our salvage people see all kinds of stuff left in vehicles. Most vehicles are eventually recovered, about 90% of vehicles are recovered at some point but more than half of stolen vehicles are written off due to the damage. A lot of owners have said that even when they do get them back, even if you are able to repair the damage, the car just isn't the same. It doesn't feel the same afterwards."
He added that they also wanted to stress the damage your vehicle could do.
"Stolen vehicles are very often, police tell us, used in the commission of other crimes. They're driven recklessly and they're a real traffic safety concern. In many cases, they're involved in other crimes or sometimes they're even involved in collisions that injure or kill people. We just want you to keep that in mind, how would you feel if it was your vehicle that you knew you left the keys in got stolen and it was used to rob somebody or was involved in a collision that injured or killed somebody."
SGI provided some tips to prevent vehicle theft:
Don’t leave your keys in the vehicle.
Always lock your doors and close the windows.
Never leave your keys in the ignition, console, glove compartment, under the floor mat or anywhere else in the vehicle.
In a new vehicle, remove the valet key from the owner’s manual.
Never leave a vehicle running unattended.
Use anti-theft devices – steering wheel bar, electronic disabling device and vehicle alarms.
Park your vehicle in the safest place you can, ideally in your garage or a well-lit area away from fences and trees.
Place your valuables out of sight and don’t leave purses, money or wallets in your vehicle.
Remove all electronic devices from the vehicle when you’re not in it, e.g., cell phones, stereo faceplates and GPS devices.
If possible, don’t leave the garage door opener in your vehicle – thieves can use it to get into your garage and steal other belongings.