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Keyword: auto theft

Imagine walking out to get into your car, and finding it's gone.

The thought causes instant anxiety, knowing that you are stranded wherever you are, without the convenience of your own transportation. Having your vehicle stolen, or even your property taken from inside your vehicle, is a personal violation that is very expensive, not only costing you money, but costing you time and your sense of security.

If there were a magic button that you could push to save you all of these expenses, would you push it? Well, there is! It was actually invented in 1914 but wasn't made common until it was included on luxury automobiles in 1956. In fact, it is now standard on almost every automobile. It's the power door lock! Just one touch and your vehicle and possessions can be safe from thieves!

Lock Your Doors

Did you know that the majority of property reported stolen from a vehicle in Baltimore County involves incidents where the doors were left unlocked? Thieves can make quick work of a densely populated parking lot simply by checking door handles. Apartment complexes and townhome communities offer thieves the opportunity to quickly check many vehicles in a short amount of time, walking away with the maximum dividends for their efforts. Push that magic button and double check that your vehicle doors are locked before you leave it parked in a public place and once you are home for the evening. 

Remove Your Property

Don't give a thief a reason to target your vehicle - make sure to keep all of your possessions out of sight. Safely lock things away in a trunk, or, better yet, make sure that you take all of your possessions with you when you leave your vehicle. Leaving things like shopping bags, duffel bags or backpacks where they can be seen in your vehicle bring the possibility of valuable property to would-be thieves and make it more likely that your car will be targeted.

Prevent Theft

Never leave a spare key or a garage door opener in your vehicle. Once a thief has gained access to the inside of your car, they can now take the car or gain access to your garage or home to commit a burglary. There is nowhere inside a vehicle that a thief won't find your hidden keys during a quick search.

Also, never leave your vehicle running unattended. Use a remote starter for climate control during the hot and cold months. And remember, a thief will be just as quick to take your vehicle from your driveway as they will be to take it from the street. They're a criminal, after all, so trespassing onto your property isn't even a consideration to them.

If you have to make a quick run into a convenience store, make sure you aren’t inconvenienced by returning to a missing vehicle. Crack the windows to allow for air flow if necessary and take your keys with you. It takes only seconds for a thief to make off with your car, and your possessions. Keep this in mind when stopping by to pick up take-out orders during the pandemic, as well. One young woman recently learned how fast a thief can make off with your car, and your most valuable possessions, when her car and dog were stolen just feet from where she was paying for her menu order! You can read more on that by clicking here (spoiler alert: the dog was eventually returned safe!)

According to the Maryland State Police Vehicle Theft Prevention Council 50% of the vehicles stolen in Maryland had keys left inside the vehicle, and 60% were left unlocked. Also, 95% of vehicles stolen did not utilize any type of anti-theft device. A simple steering wheel lock can not only prevent the theft of your vehicle, but also your airbag, which is an emerging trend here in Baltimore County.

Save yourself the expense of money, time, and stress. Press that magic button and keep your vehicle and your possessions safe from opportunistic thieves, and help to cut the occurrence of  these crimes in half!

You can find additional safety tips on how to keep your property safe on our website and similar safety videos on our YouTube channel.

There has been a spike in preventable auto thefts throughout Baltimore County. Since July 1, there have been 84 car thefts involving cars left running and unattended as well as keys and spare key fobs left in vehicles. These auto thefts could have been prevented. Leaving a car running, unattended and unlocked are what thieves look for when choosing a vehicle to steal. 

According to the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, a car is stolen every 45 seconds. It is also reported that 95 percent of vehicles stolen did not have an anti-theft device and more than 60 percent of car thefts occurred at night. Most modern cars are equipped with standard anti-theft features that are beneficial when used. 

Don’t give your car away. If a car is left running and unattended a traffic citation may be issued that carries a $70 fine and one point on a driver’s license. 

Follow these simple tips to avoid having your car stolen:

  • Always lock your car doors
  • Never leave your car running and unattended
  • Remove and secure all valuables
  • Never leave keys in your car. Always take them with you.
  • Make sure your car is equipped with an anti-theft device

Remember, take your keys with you, remove your belongings and lock your doors. These tips are also available on the Department's Public Service Announcement

Baltimore County Police arrest two suspects who carjacked a man in Parkville.

On April 3 at 3:28 p.m. police responded to the Royal Farms store in the 2700 block of Taylor Avenue, 21234 for a carjacking. The investigation revealed that two suspects, armed with a weapon, robbed the victim as he entered his car. Afterwards, they stole his vehicle. 

Members of the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, Baltimore County Police Aviation and patrol located the victim's vehicle in Baltimore City. A 14-year-old and 15-year-old, both from Baltimore, were arrested and charged with armed robbery, armed carjacking and various other charges. They have been released to the custody of their guardians.


Revised June 27, 2017