“It’s important to remember that a car thief can steal your car in less than 30 seconds — without a key.”
News07:00 AMThe Hamilton Spectator
Last year, Hamilton police received 1,553 reports of stolen automobiles, slightly more than the 1,453 reports in 2017. - Hamilton Spectator file photo
Hamilton police are urging drivers to watch out for thieves with auto theft on the rise.
"It's important to remember that a car thief can steal your car in less than 30 seconds — without a key," police said in a news release Monday.
Last year, police received 1,553 reports of stolen automobiles, slightly more than the 1,453 reports in 2017.
Trucks are most targeted, with 2001-2007 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado models stolen most often, police say.
Last year, 1,022 trucks were swiped, compared to 486 cars and 45 motorcycles.
Police say vehicles can be stolen for a variety of reasons, ranging from joyriding to criminal profit, including selling parts or "cloning," which involves creating a new VIN number and selling a car to an unsuspecting buyer.
Stolen cars are also used for transportation for robberies, home invasions and break-and-enters, police say.
Here are some tips to keep your vehicle secure:
•always lock your vehicle and close your windows;
•don't leave the original vehicle ownership, insurance or your driver's licence in your vehicle;
•park in well-lit, well-attended areas;
•don't hide spare vehicle keys in the vehicle or on the vehicle's exterior;
•remove GPS, cellphone and other electronic accessories from view;
•don't leave your vehicle running;
•lock valuables in your trunk, out of sight. If you can't, take them with you;
•when parking, turn your wheels and set your parking brake to make towing more difficult;
•permanently etch the vehicle identification number onto the windows of your car;
•use an anti-theft device such as a steering wheel lock, kill switch, immobilizer, alarm or tracking system;