On Tuesday, 6/26/16, between 12:30 PM and 9:00 PM, there were a series of Auto Thefts that occurred in the Westwood Area. The first occurred in the 1700 block of Malcolm Ave where a 2010 Toyota Prius, which was parked in a driveway, was stolen. The second occurred later in the afternoon in the 600 block of Levering Ave where a 1998 Toyota Corolla which was also parked in a driveway was stolen. The third occurred around 9:00 PM in the 1700 block of Westwood Blvd. where a 2015 Ford Edge which was parked on the street was stolen. The stolen Prius was later discovered hours later parked near Westwood Park on Veteran Ave. What is unique about these three is the time of day that they occurred and that there were multiple occurrences. Typically, most of our auto related crime and car thefts occur during the late night and overnight hours.
Westwood Area Auto Theft Awareness and Prevention
Recently the Westwood area has experienced an increase of stolen vehicles and Auto related crimes. Every year in the City of Los Angeles approximately 30,000 vehicles are stolen. In fact, vehicle theft represents approximately 24 percent of the property crimes and 18 percent of total crime in the City. Auto theft is a big and profitable business occurring more often in large cities. According to the FBI crime statistics, a car is stolen every 23 seconds.
The experienced car thief can steal the average car in less than a minute. Many vehicles stolen in the City of Los Angeles are recovered, and of those recovered, 50 percent have been stripped or damaged to some degree. Most cars are seemingly stolen for transportation, while others for the value of their parts. The most frequently stolen vehicles are the most popularly sold over the last decade. The most frequently stolen vehicles have been the late 1990’s and 2000’s model Toyota’s, Honda’s and other foreign makes. These vehicles have been targeted because of the ease in which they can be stolen. Owners of these vehicles should take precautions to prevent their vehicle from being stolen.
Car thefts seem to occur with greater frequency where large groups of cars are parked for extended periods of time in places such as shopping areas, colleges, and large apartment or condo complexes. Car thefts occur at random on different days of the week and times of the day, depending on the locations.
Below are some tips you can use to avoid being the victim of a car thief:
- Never leave your car running unattended, even to dash into a business, store, etc.;
- Never leave any keys in the car or inside a locked garage, or in hide-a-key boxes;
- Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is parked in front of your home;
- Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight;
- Always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas, when possible;
- Install a mechanical device that locks the steering wheel, column, or brakes. These devices will deter some criminals;
- Investigate the purchase of a vehicle theft tracking/security system, especially if you own one of the frequently stolen model vehicles;
- Never leave personal identification documents, vehicle ownership title, or credit cards in your vehicle;
- Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers and keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information to take a report; and,
- If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately.
Remember, there is no guarantee that your car will not be stolen, but taking precautionary measures can minimize your chances of becoming the victim of auto theft.