Summer is the Season for Vehicle Theft


Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (July, 2015) – The Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) warns drivers to take precautions as the season of vehicle theft heats up. “We generally see the the number of stolen cars rise as temperatures rise,” says Steven Wheeler, ATPA’s executive director. “July and August are usually the peak months. Car owners can best protect themselves with one easy step: lock the car, every time.”

More than half of Pennsylvania’s stolen cars were left unlocked. Following these simple, common sense tips, at your home, work location, or while on vacation, can spare you the hassle and expense of having your car stolen:

  • Lock the car, take the keys, every time. For most drivers, it’s a habit to either leave the keys in the car, or to take them with you. If it’s not a habit for you, consciously make the decision to double check that you have your keys as you walk away from the vehicle. No place is safe from vehicle theft, even your driveway.
  • Do not leave your car running and unattended. While it’s tempting to let the air conditioning keep the car cool while you run into grab a cup of coffee, it only takes a thief a few seconds to steal your car. It’s also illegal to leave your car running and unattended.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car. Leaving cell phones, mail, garage door openers, wallets, computers, or other valuables in the car attracts thieves. Leaving mail and sensitive information in your car also leaves you vulnerable to identity theft.

Through a sponsorship with the Philadelphia Phillies, ATPA is running anti-theft messages at Citizens Bank Park and on radio broadcasts, as the southeastern part of the state experiences the highest vehicle theft rate; 13,616 vehicles were stolen in the Commonwealth last year, with more than 7,000 of them stolen in or around Philadelphia. Phillies’ fans attending the game on July 19 will receive a free ATPA travel mug, with the message, “Lock your car, take your keys, every time. Prevent theft.” Fans interested in buying discount tickets can find more information on ATPA’s website under the Events tab.  ATPA is also trying to reach drivers statewide through its prevention messaging in movie theaters in July.

For more information on how to protect yourself or what to do if your car is stolen, visit ATPA’s website or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s resource page for national statistics and information.

Created in 1994 by the state legislature, the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority provides grants statewide to a number of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors with the goal of reducing auto theft. The Authority has demonstrated significant and cost-effective success in achieving that objective, especially when compared to nearby states. During the past decade, the rate of auto theft in Pennsylvania has declined 52%. For more information about auto theft in Pennsylvania, county-by-county statistics, and theft prevention tips, visit


Contact: Amanda Owens, 717-592-9759


Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority

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