The McMinn County Sheriff’s Department says car theft in the county could be cut in half, even lower, but to make that happen they need help from drivers.
In a post on Facebook, Sheriff Joe Guy says auto-theft is a crime of opportunity and his solutions to cracking down on the crime are simple, easy and free.
With as much as a car can cost, Daniel McConkey does what he can so his never goes missing.
“My father taught me that well, he always taught me when you get out and leave your car running to run in the store, you might be the one walking from there,” McConkey said.
In McMinn County, the Sheriff’s Department says they investigate 110 to 130 stolen car cases every year. Sheriff Guy saying it adds up to about two every week.
“I think people need to know there are people actively looking to steal vehicles and if you give them an opportunity to get inside or steal a vehicle, they’re going to take it,” he said.
There’s a common thread in each stolen car case.
“Most of our auto-thefts involve situations where victims have left a key in the vehicle or left a vehicle running,” said Sheriff Guy.
Investigators say it’s an easy fix:
- Close and lock all the doors and windows
- Take valuables with you
- Take your keys with you
- Never leave your car running
- Park in well-lit areas
“Sometimes they’re just taken for a joy ride but unfortunately there’s a lot of damage done to them. Sometimes they’re just completely totaled out or burned somewhere. Sometimes they’re taken to chop-shops, chopped up and illegally sold,” added Sheriff Guy.
Sheriff Guy adding these are all common sense solutions, “So much of that can be stopped on the front end if we all just exercise a little bit of precaution.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car is stolen every 41 seconds in the U.S. They say there are a number of anti-theft systems drivers can use including horn alarms, as well as wheel locks to deter thieves. There’s also electronic transmission technology which helps law enforcement pinpoint the location of a stolen car.