BOISE – It’s National Theft Prevention Month, a reminder from AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure your car is properly secured.  In 2019 alone, a motor vehicle was stolen every 44 seconds in the United States, nearly three quarters of a million vehicles in total, at a cost of more than $6 billion.

“Only 56 percent of all stolen motor vehicles are ever recovered.  That means that if your car or truck goes missing, your chances of getting it back are basically a coin toss,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Always keep your vehicle locked up, not just to protect it, but your personal information and possessions as well.”

According to NHTSA, 75 percent of the stolen motor vehicles are passenger cars.

AAA and NHTSA recommend that vehicle owners hide their valuables out of sight and park in well-lit areas.  Lock your vehicle when you leave and take your keys with you, even for a quick errand.  Never leave the area while your vehicle is running, and never leave children in an unattended car.

“Most crimes are crimes of opportunity.  If you leave your car running to keep the air conditioner working on a hot day, you’ve created that opportunity,” Conde said.  “With minimal effort, you can make it much harder for thieves to get into your vehicle, and if you do, they’ll usually move on to an easier target.”