The Maryland State Police, along with the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, are reminding motorists to take simple steps to avoid having their vehicles stolen.
The warnings come as July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. In Maryland, a car is stolen every 40 minutes, while one is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States.
Overall, 50 percent of the vehicles stolen had the keys inside the vehicle while 60 percent of the vehicles stolen were left unlocked. Also, more than 66 percent of vehicle thefts occur at night and 95 percent of the vehicles stolen had no anti-theft devices.
Nationally in 2016, nearly 750,000 vehicles were stolen in the United States in 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42 percent of all stolen motor vehicles are never recovered.
Here are steps you can take to prevent motor vehicle theft:
Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
Park in well-lit areas.
Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running.
Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
Always stow away your valuables.
The Maryland General Assembly created the Vehicle Theft Prevention Council in 1994 as a statewide planning and dedicated funding resource. The Council embraces a statewide strategy directed at public awareness, vehicle theft by juveniles, law enforcement and prosecution through a grant award process.