Safety precauctions to stop vehicle thefts

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — You’ve parked your car to go shopping. You come and and can’t find it. You’ve become a statistic you never wanted to be: you’re car has been stolen.

“Every 41 seconds a car is stolen in the United States,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. “There have been 12 cars stolen in Shelby County so far this year.”

Lenhart said Texas and California lead the list of states where most cars are stolen. Ohio is seventh on the list.

And many of the top five cars/vehicles stolen are made in Ohio.

The top vehicle stolen in the Honda Accord, said Lenhart. More than 50,000 vehicles are stolen each year.

The No. 2 vehicle on the list is the Honda Civic with nearly 50,000 vehicles stolen. Nearly 30,000 Ford pickup trucks are stolen each year, making it No. 3 on the list.

Another 30,000 Chevrolet pickup trucks are stolen annually. It’s No. 4 on the list. Rounding out the top 5 is the Toyota Camry where 17,000 owners reported the vehicle stolen.

“Not all the vehicles are recovered,” said Lenhart. “Some end up in chop shops where parts are taken and resold.

“Some of the (vehicle identification) numbers of the stolen vehicles end up on a junk car,” he said.

And some “high end” cars, he said, are stolen and put on ships with a destination of the Middle East.

Lenhart said 30 percent of the stolen vehicles start out with a person breaking into the vehicle to steal something out of it. The person finds the key in the vehicle and then steals it, he said.

Lenhart provided some tips on keeping your vehicle safe.

“Always lock you car doors,” he said. “Even if it’s in your garage, lock it and take the keys into the house.”

Never leave your keys in your vehicle even if you’ve locked it, he said.

“Never leave your car running,” said Lenhart. “When it’s hot like it is now, you’re tempted to leave it running with the air conditioning on while you go into a store to shop.”

If you have valuables in your vehicle, cover them up and put them in the trunk, he said.

Lenhart said people like to hide their spare key someplace on their vehicle in case they lock their keys in the car.

“I bet I can find your spare key in 60 seconds if you’ve hidden in on your car,” said Lenhart.

The three top hiding places for a spare key is under the fender, under the hood or in the gas cap, he said.

“Don’t hide it in your vehicle,” he said.

Also, never leave the windows down while you’re shopping or even when it’s parked in the driveway of your residence.

“Crack the window a little bit,” he said, “but don’t leave it all the way down.”

Other safety precautions include:

• Parking in an area that is well lit.

• Having an audible alarm on your vehicle.

• Installing an anti-theft device. Those items include a device that locks your steering wheel in place or a wheel lock on the tire.

• Use the GPS tracking system on your vehicle.

“Above all, use common sense,” said Lenhart. “Park in a safe place. If you’re driving to work and it’s a bad neighborhood, find a safe place to park your vehicle.”

If your vehicle is stolen, report it to law enforcement.

“Know the color, year, make and licence plate for your vehicle,” said Lenhart. “That’s the first question they’re going to ask you.

With the conclusion of the 20018 Country Concert, Lenhart reflected on the event which is protected by local law enforcement.

“For us, the week started on Tuesday (July 3),” said Lenhart. “Wednesday night there was some entertainment. The big show was Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“There were huge crowds with minimal problems,” he said.

One change Lenhart observed was how the entertainer’s security details checked out the venue before the performances.

“Since the Las Vegas concert shooting, security has changed,” said Lenhart. “The persons providing security of the entertainers were concerned about the security at the concert. We walked through our security plan with their security personnel. There’s now a different perception of security at concerts.”

One thing which was changed for this year’s concert was the pick up and drop off spot for concert-goers who didn’t want to drive to the event.

“We had 500 vehicles doing that,” said Lenhart. “I’m excited about it. We don’t want people on the road if they’ve been partying.

“Law enforcement doesn’t want people driving on the roads if they’ve been drinking,” he said. “We make all kinds of public announcements at the concert about not driving.”

By Melanie Speicher

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.