July brings uptick in vehicle thefts in U.S.

WASHINGTON – Every time another minute ticks by on the clock, a car is stolen somewhere in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A motor vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds, the NHTSA said in a report released Monday.

The agency is bringing attention to the risk of vehicle thefts during National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, which goes through July. There is an uptick in vehicle thefts in July and August, according to NHTSA data.

Also, Maryland is among the states that see the most vehicle thefts, according to the NHTSA.

“More than 40 percent of motor vehicle theft incidents involve mistakes by drivers,” the NHTSA reported in a release.

To prevent car thefts, the NHTSA recommends:

  • Never leave keys in the vehicle
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when the car is parked
  • Park in well-lit places
  • Keep the vehicle in the garage, if possible
  • Never leave valuables in the vehicle
  • Never leave the area while the vehicle is running

About 52 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered, according to the NHTSA. To help locate a stolen vehicle, the agency recommends contacting police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report and letting the insurance company know right away, too.

Below is a NHTSA video about protecting a vehicle from being stolen:

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report. Follow him at @NickWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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