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The original item was published from 6/29/2023 11:45:30 AM to 6/29/2023 6:10:08 PM.

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Posted on: June 29, 2023

[ARCHIVED] July 2023 is National Vehicle Theft Awareness Month: Don't Give Thieves the Keys

image of man in mask breaking into a car

July is National Vehicle Theft Awareness month, and the Grand Junction Police Department is reminding community members to protect themselves from auto theft.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than one million vehicles were stolen in the United States in 2022, with passenger cars making up more than 74% of all stolen motor vehicles. While the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) reported a decrease in auto thefts in Colorado from January through April, the Grand Junction Police Department still receives reports of auto thefts within the city limits. This year, from January through May, 100 auto thefts have been reported to the Grand Junction Police Department, similar to 2022, which had 102 reported auto thefts in the same time frame. 

Most auto thefts are crimes of opportunity, a criminal act committed when a perpetrator sees a chance to commit a crime spontaneously. Often times, perpetrators of vehicle thefts are driven by financial gain by selling auto parts. Some thieves steal cars for the valuables left in the vehicles, such as wallets, purses, and laptops. And some car thieves steel cars to commit other crimes. Many of these thefts can be prevented with a few simple tips.

  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it is running.
  • Never leave your keys in the vehicle or ignition, even when it is locked in your garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock your doors.
  • Remove all valuables from your vehicle.
  • Install motion sensor lights in your driveway.
  • Always park in well-lit areas or parking lots.
  • Consider installing a steering wheel lock, GPS system, or additional car alarms for your vehicle.

If you are a victim of an auto theft, contact non-emergency dispatch at 970-242-6707, to file a police report. Know your license plate number, make/model/color of your vehicle and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Contact your insurance company to file a claim. If you find your vehicle before law enforcement does, contact non-emergency dispatch.

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