The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division is excited to introduce “All Consuming.” With this inaugural post, we have become one of the first AG offices in the nation to venture into the blogosphere.
Since our Consumer Resource Centers and Lemon Law staff together handle thousands of consumer calls each year regarding car sales and repairs, it seemed appropriate to devote this first week to information relevant to auto owners and buyers.
A car is stolen every 13 minutes in Washington, according to the State Patrol. And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently reported that the Seattle area ranks sixth in the nation for the most stolen cars. The article warns that certain neighborhoods tend to be hot targets for thieves.
Hollywood blockbusters like “Gone in 60 Seconds” glamorize carjacking, but the gritty truth is that these crimes hurt not only the car owner, but all of us. Investigating auto theft costs our state millions each year – those dollars are passed along to taxpayers.
During a recent meeting with members of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association and the Attorney General’s Office, two State Patrol officers talked about how drivers can thwart car thieves and assist law enforcement in recovering stolen vehicles.
Cops say that after-market, anti-theft systems such as LoJack that enable officers to track vehicles via a radio frequency have enabled them to recover many cars – often while the thief is still at the wheel. A similar service, OnStar, uses GPS tracking and is installed at the factory. Car alarms, locking bars and ignition kill switches can also be effective deterrents.
But even the latest technology won’t prevent a thief from filching your car if you make it easy. This is a no-brainer, but many thefts could be avoided if drivers simply locked the door. Stats show that in 1 out of every 5 cases, the thief started the car with a key found inside the vehicle.
Find more tips on how to protect your four-wheeled investment on the State Patrol Web site.
Check this blog regularly, as we'll be posting more tips about cars and anything else we deem noteworthy.