Learn how to protect your car from vehicle theft in Hawaii.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Hawaii Dangers
Cars get broken into in every part of the world where vehicles exist which means Hawaii is no exception. Vehicle theft comes in two forms. The first is a simple break in or "smash and grab" scenario where a thief simply wants whatever goods that might be in the car. The second is where a thief steals the actual car itself, either for fun, to commit another crime, or to have it chopped and sold (often as parts).
It doesn't matter if you're local kama'aina or a visiting tourist with a rental car, vehicle theft is certain to rain on your parade if you're a victim of it. So let's go over ways you can protect your vehicle and its belongings from being yet another statistic.
Most Targeted Vehicles In Hawaii
In Hawaii, the most common vehicles that are stolen are older cars, often from the 1990's to early 2000's. Anything older likely has little value as parts (except for classic cars) and anything newer is likely to have a much better anti-theft system. Older cars can be hot-wired while newer cars usually have computer controlled ignition systems and a "smart key", making theft very difficult for the average criminal to steal.
The most targeted makes and models in Hawaii include Honda Civics and Accords, Ford trucks, and Toyota Tacomas and Corollas in those 1990's-2000's range. It doesn't mean these cars are necessarily easier to steal than their competitors in the same year but this could be because these are very common cars with many sold each year.
Only 75% of vehicles that are stolen end up being recovered. Most people assume that on an island there is no way a thief can go far with their car, but clearly the statistics prove otherwise.
Of course, when it comes to smash and grab theft it really doesn't matter why type of car you have. These situations are all about opportunity for the thief and if they see something inside the car they're more likely to target that vehicle. What's inside may have little or no value, but the thief won't know that until after they've bashed in your window and taken it.
Car Theft Prevention Tips For Hawaii
A lot of these are obvious, common sense tips that most people seem to forget (especially when on vacation). Never leave your car running while you're not in it, and never leave the keys in the car (not even for a minute while you run to get something). Sounds silly to even mention a tip so simple, yet of the nearly 3,000 stolen vehicles on Oahu in 2016 thieves drove away using the vehicle key in over 20% of the cases.
Park in well lit areas whenever possible and don't assume that a highly trafficked mall parking lot is safe. When you're parked at home, always roll up windows and lock the car (and arm any alarm of anti-theft system). This applies to parking on the street, in your driveway, and even your garage. If you're going on a hike or to the beach, check the ground in the parking area and if you notice broken car window glass on the ground it could be a sign of frequent car break ins in that area.
Whenever possible, don't leave anything in your car or trunk. Even an bag or empty box can be a target for thieves because they won't know it's empty until they look. If you have to put something in your trunk, it's best to put the item in your trunk in a place different from where you plan to park. Never leave any loose change out either, even small amounts are enough for somebody to break in and take while they search for more.
Adding an anti-theft device like a car alarm #ad, steering wheel immobilizers #ad, or vehicle tracking system #ad can also greatly reduce the chances of theft or increase the chances of vehicle recovery.
What To Do If Your Car Is Broken Into Or Stolen In Hawaii
If you find that your vehicle or rental car has been broken into or actually stolen then the first step is to call 911. In the case of a stolen vehicle the police may send an officer to your home to make sure the thief doesn't try to go steal from your (likely) unattended house. They'll also send an office out to get the details from you.
Unauthorized motor vehicle entry or theft is a Class C felony and is even punishable by up to five years in prison, but this isn't a deterrent for most thieves. Why? Because they know that they likely won't get caught and if they do they likely won't spend any time in jail for it and simply get probation. In fact, of the nearly 3,000 vehicles thefts in 2016 only 130 thieves were charged with driving a stolen vehicle.
If you see somebody attempting to break into a vehicle, don't approach them or try to stop them. Simply dial 911 on your phone and report as much information as you can (description of the person and what they are wearing, type of car and color, license plate number, which direction they left in, etc).
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