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Most Car Thefts Are Preventable Crimes

DENVER (CBS4) - Wednesday morning's wild police chase along three highways caused all kinds of problems for innocent drivers sharing the road. And while the incident was extremely rare, there is a lesson to be learned.

A vehicle is stolen in this country every 44 seconds and in Colorado last year more than 11,000 vehicles were stolen.

Almost half of car thefts are due to driver error.

"Fifty percent of the cars we have stolen have the keys in them," said Carole Walker, head of a group called of Coloradans Against Auto Theft. "This is the time of the year when people leave their car running unattended. So you're just leaving that car warmed up for the thief."

Just locking your car when you get out can go a long way towards preventing the crime from happening.

Carjacking During Wild Car Chase In Denver Metro Area On March 12, 2014
A woman gets carjacked on March 12, 2014, during the wild chase in the Denver metro area. (credit: CBS)

"Keep your cars locked while you're driving, because in a carjacking situation if you're make it easier for that thief that's another way they are going to be able to take your car," Walker said.

Walker warned that Wednesday morning's events should serve as a wake-up call for everyone. Having the proper insurance coverage is key, too.

"Do you have comprehensive coverage if your car is stolen? If someone steals your car and hits another vehicle, do you have collision?" she asked.

If a person is injured while stealing your vehicle, you might need more coverage. It's important to talk to your insurance agent about your options.

Many cars are stolen in Colorado so they can be used in other crimes, and to a lesser degree for parts.

Additional Resources

CAAT, Walker's group, shared the following tips about avoiding and dealing with auto theft:

- Never leave your car running unattended.
- Always lock your car.
- Never leave any keys in the car, even a spare set.
- Never leave valuables in plain sight.
- Always park in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
- Get windows, doors and fenders etched with the VIN.
- Consider installing a tracking and recovery device.
- Check out for more prevention tips, local statistics and a Hot Spot map with geo-locator tool allowing users to search auto theft in their area.

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