SAN DIEGO -- The moral of this story -- don't leave your keys in your vehicle.
In the United States, California ranks #1 in vehicle thefts where keys were readily accessible to thieves, according to 2013-2015 data analyzed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Texas ranks second, Florida comes in third and Ohio and Nevada round out the bottom of the top five list.
Here's a look at the number of reported thefts during that 2-year span (where keys were left inside a vehicle):
- California - 22,580
- Texas - 11,003
- Florida - 9,952
- Ohio - 8,623
- Nevada - 8,073
Interestingly, Hawaii had a perfect record -- there was not a single report of a vehicle theft with keys during that period.
And here's some more data from the report to chew on -- forget Gone in 60 Seconds... vehicle thefts happen even faster than that.
According to NICB, a vehicle is reported stolen every 45 seconds in the United States. And in many instances the job for thieves was made easy by drivers leaving their vehicles unlocked, or leaving their keys or FOB inside.
"Anti-theft technology has a tremendous impact on reducing thefts over the past 25 years, but if you don't lock it up, it's not going to help," said Joe Wehrle, President and CEO of NICB. "Complacency can lead to a huge financial loss and inconvenience for the vehicle owner."
Locking your vehicle and taking your keys/FOBs with you is one of the best ways to detract thieves. Here is some more advice from NICB:
- Do not leave your garage door opener inside your vehicle.
- Do not leave your registration or other papers with personal information inside your vehicle - instead, take a picture of the documents and keep them on your cell phone.
- Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up, or while making a quick stop.