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4 keys to prevent car theft: Following rash of car thefts, AAA offers advice to motorists


Tue, Feb 14th 2023 11:30 am

By AAA of Western and Central New York

Car thefts are on the rise!

According to the latest figures from the Insurance Information Institute, there were an estimated 810,400 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2020 – an 11.8% increase from 2019. In 2020, New York state ranked 13 for the number of car thefts, with the top five states for vehicle thefts including California, Texas, Florida, Colorado and Washington. Police in many regions in New York are reporting an up-tick in car thefts this year.

The TikTok challenge is specific theft of Kia and Hyundai models where individuals target the vehicles using a USB charging cord to start the car. This is occurring in multiple states such as New York, California, Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Ohio. Some area police agencies are offering free steering wheel locks to Kia and Hyundai owners to minimize auto theft. The more layers of protection, the less likely your car will be stolen.

AAA Insurance suggests these keys to theft prevention:


Nearly half of vehicle thefts could have been prevented by the owner according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Whenever you leave your car, take a moment to check that you have:

√ Parked in a well-lit area

√ Locked the doors and closed the windows

√ Removed spare keys from inside the vehicle

√ Moved valuables and other items out of view


Vehicles that are easy to break into and allow for a quick getaway are attractive to thieves. Visible theft deterrents signal that your car could be difficult to steal. Consider using:

√ Steering wheel locks (provided by many police agencies for Kia and Hyundai owners)

√ Brake pedal locks

√ Theft deterrent decals

√ Audible alarm systems


Immobilizing devices prevent a car from being hot-wired. Many late model vehicles come with immobilization devices standard, and some after-market options are available for earlier model cars. These include:

√ Smart keys

√ Fuse cut-offs

√ Kill switches

√ Starter or fuel pump disablers

√ Wireless ignition authentication systems


A tracking device emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when a vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ telematics, which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Auto liability insurance is required in all 50 states, but coverage against theft – the comprehensive coverage – is optional. For more information, call your AAA insurance agent, insurance customer service, or visit your local AAA Travel & Insurance Center. Learn more at www.AAA.com/Insurance.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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