141 W Elm
Wichita, KS 67203
Auto theft is a crime that can occur in any neighborhood, in
any county, and in any city. Auto thieves are most often thieves of opportunity
and because of this there are a number of things that can be done in order to
protect your vehicles. The FBI reports that Kansas law enforcement agencies
reported 6,778 auto thefts in 2012 and 6,677 in 20111.
Citizens applying more crime prevention techniques in their
homes and communities can help reduce this type of crime. As previously
mentioned, auto theft is most often a crime of opportunity and because of this
crime prevention techniques are often extremely useful in reducing the number of
auto thefts and/or attempted auto thefts in a community. Below is a list of
potential things that can be done to help protect your vehicles:
ALWAYS lock your car and roll up the windows
(even if you live in a rural area and have never had a problem
NEVER leave your vehicle running and unlocked.
This often takes place in driveways when people are trying to
warm their vehicles up or in gas station parking lots when
people are just “running in for a minute.” There are often
people watching and waiting for a driver to make this mistake.
When parking on the street, engage your
emergency brake and turn your wheels all the way to the curb.
This makes it difficult for auto thieves to tow your vehicle
Don’t hide an extra key in your vehicle and
don’t leave a valet key in your vehicle if your vehicle has one.
NEVER leave valuables in plain sight. This
includes keys, wallets, purses, cell phones, stereo systems, and
packages of any kind. While the rates of auto thefts are
decreasing, thefts or larcenies from vehicles have remained
steady in their numbers over the past several years.
When in a public place such as a park or zoo
parking lot DO NOT place your valuables in your trunk in plain
view of other people. Place your purse, wallet, etc. in your
trunk where no one can see you or better yet, leave those items
Do your best to park somewhere where it’s
brightly lit and there is a good chance that lots of people will
be able to see your vehicle if someone is attempting to break
DO NOT leave your vehicle’s registration
and/or title in your vehicle. If your vehicle is stolen, having
access to those documents makes it very easy for thieves to make
a profit on your vehicle. In Kansas, someone attempting to sell
a car to a legitimate salvage yard must provide the vehicle’s
title in order to do so. Kansas residents are not required to
keep their vehicle’s registration in their vehicle.
DO NOT leave personal documents such as bank
statements, SSN cards, credit card bills, etc. in your vehicle.
If your vehicle is stolen or broken into, you are making
yourself a prime target for identity theft.
Don’t believe that just because you drive an
older vehicle, that you are safe from auto theft. The most
targeted vehicles are often those that are 10 to 12 years old.
If your older vehicle has a T-shaped door lock, switch these to
Invest in some type of anti-theft device.
These can range from fairly inexpensive to very inexpensive but
the idea here is that something is better than nothing.
If you do have an audible anti-theft alarm on
your car or truck, make sure that it is adjusted so that it is
not going off constantly. A car alarm that is constantly going
off will have no value because neighbors will disregard it as
simply being another false alarm.
Consider etching the VIN into your vehicle’s
windows. There are a number of products that will allow you to
do this. These cannot be removed like engine, dashboard, and
door VIN plates.
If you have a garage, use it! Even though it
may mean spending a Saturday cleaning it out, thieves are much
less likely to steal a car out of a garage than out of a
driveway or off the street.
Write down your vehicle’s VINS and tag numbers
and place one copy in your purse and/or wallet. In the event
that your vehicle is stolen, this will greatly assist law
enforcement and will enable them to have your stolen vehicle’s
information placed in the national crime computer system much
faster. This should be done for each vehicle that you own
Here are some things that may want to consider if you are
going to be purchasing a used vehicle:
Be suspicious of any deal that may be too good
to be true.
When buying from a private party, make sure
that the name on the title and registration are the same as the
seller’s name on the seller’s driver’s license.
We strongly suggest that you consider running
the VIN of a vehicle that you are considering purchasing through
your local police department in order to check and see if it’s
stolen. This can also be done on
If things “just aren’t adding up”, reconsider
purchasing the vehicle. For example, inconsistent stories from
the seller along with a missing or damaged VIN plate may
indicate that the vehicle may be stolen or embezzled.
Implementing the above crime prevention techniques will
greatly decrease your chances of becoming a victim of auto theft and/or a theft
from your vehicle.
So what types of vehicles are being taken? Click on the link
below to view the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Top 10 Vehicles Make/Model
NICB Top 10
Vehicle Make/Model Thefts
Losing a vehicle by theft can be extremely detrimental to a
family, especially in today’s economy. By enacting some of the above prevention
ideas, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim and can also decrease
your chances of becoming the victim of other crimes associated with auto theft
and larcenies from vehicles such as identity theft, criminal use of a financial
card, and forgery. As always, if you have any questions about protecting your
vehicle from theft, don’t hesitate to call the Sheriff’s Office. We’d be happy
We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s
Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their
neighborhoods. But we need your help! By utilizing
crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and
vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim!
If you have any questions about what you could do to help
protect yourself and your property, please call either your
Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community
Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750.
information provided in this document is not
intended to be legal advice, but is merely
intended to convey general information commonly
encountered when dealing with the subjects
discussed herein. Because laws can change very
rapidly, we cannot guarantee that any
information on this document (or references
contained therein) is current or accurate.
Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to
jurisdiction, and are subject to interpretation
of courts located in each county. Legal advice
must be tailored to the specific circumstances
of each case and the information provided herein
may not be an appropriate fit for your
particular situation. The Sedgwick County
Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or
others will not be liable or responsible for any
claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages
related to use of this document or any reference
Auto Theft Info
Theft Prevention Tips
National Insurance Crime Bureau VIN check
Tips for Auto Theft Protection
Stolen Car Reports.com
Deputy Fischer D1639
Reviewed by: J.Page D1642
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Sedgwick County is to provide quality public services to our community
so everyone can pursue freedom and prosperity in a safe, secure, and
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