Prevent Vehicle Theft
Tips on what you can do to reduce the chances of your vehicle being stolen and ways to protect yourself when purchasing a vehicle through a private seller.
Let’s Drive Down Auto Theft
Have you heard? 45,033 vehicles were reported stolen in Washington in 2022. That’s 45% higher than in 2021.
You can help keep your car safe:
- Don’t leave your car running
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Use an anti-theft device
- Lock up every time
- Park in well-lit areas
WATPA is sharing these tips as part of a campaign to help Washington vehicle owners prevent auto theft. Watch for the ads on social media and share with your family and friends.
You also can download a flyer, social media graphics and text, and other materials with theft prevention tips. We invite law enforcement agencies, car dealerships, insurance agents, schools and service organizations to download and share the materials with their communities. Tool kit: Drive down auto theft in Washington
Tips to Protect Your Vehicle
- Remove or Hide All Valuables
- Lock Your Vehicle
- Do Not Leave Keys or Fobs in Your Vehicle
- Do Not Leave Your Vehicle Running Unattended
- Use Anti-Theft Devices
- Park in Well-Lit Areas
Tips to Protect Yourself
When buying a vehicle from a private seller:
- If the price sounds too good to be true- it might be stolen
- If the seller claims “lost” or “no title” it might be stolen
- Verify that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is present and intact
- Check the VIN through NICB’s Free VIN Check
- Check to see if the seller’s name matches the paperwork
- Ask to see and photograph the seller’s identification
- If the seller balks at any of these precautions, leave and call the tip line immediately with all the information you have.
- Audible & Visual Alarms
- Fuel Disabler
- Battery Disabler
- Pedal Locking Device
- Steering Wheel Locking Device
- Trailer Lock
- Location Tracking Device
Catalytic Converter Theft Protection
- Catalytic converters contain valuable metals (platinum, rhodium, and palladium)
- Follow the same tips for protecting your vehicle from theft.
- Etch your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the converter.
- Install a shield or other anti-theft device.
Motorcycle Theft Protection
- Place unique markings on your cycle and photograph them.
- Use theft prevention devices such as wheel locks, alarms, or fork locks
- Follow other tips to protect your vehicle.
Check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau for more information about theft prevention, frauds and scams related to vehicles, trailers and motorcycles.
- Crime Stoppers of South Sound
- Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound
- Crime Stoppers Tacoma/Pierce County
- Crime Stoppers Yakima County
- Crime Stoppers of The Inland Northwest (Spokane Valley, WA & Hayden, ID)
- DOC – Wanted for Arrest
- National Insurance Crime Bureau
- National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)
- Office of the Insurance Commissioner – Fraud Unit
- Washington State Crime Prevention Association
- Washington State Patrol – Auto Theft
- Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC)
- Western States Auto Theft Investigators (WSATI)
- Western States Auto Theft Investigators Northwest Chapter
- International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI)
Law Enforcement Community Awareness
- SNOCAT Twitter
- SNOCAT (The Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force
- Spokane Police Department
- Yakima County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention
- Can you ID me? Persons of interest, witnesses or potential suspects
- Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force (PSATT) – Heavy Equip. Tips
Other State & Auto Theft Sites
- Arizona Auto Theft Authority
- Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority
- Florida Anti-Car Theft Committee
- Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council
- Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority
- Maryland Vehicle Theft Authority
- Michigan Auto Theft Prevention Authority
- New York – Combat Auto Theft
- Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority
- Texas Automobile, Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority
- Virginia H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft)