Auto Theft Is Nation's Top Property Crime - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Auto Theft Is Nation's Top Property Crime

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - You may not realize it, but thieves could be to blame if you think you're paying too much for car insurance.

Insurance experts said a big percentage of your premium pays for retrieving or replacing stolen vehicles.

The older your car is, the more likely it is get stolen.  

Etching the Viehicle Identification Number or VIN into the windows of your car is one way to prevent auto theft.

Allstate State Insurance Company and Metro police teamed up to help people like Tim Watson avoid being a victim.

"It could happen, and you can't be too -- you're better safe than sorry," he said.

Allstate provided the etching service while police offered advice to protect your car.

Police in East Nashville have seen a small increase in the theft of older vehicles -- cars and trucks over 10 years old.

Police believe the thieves are trying to make money by stripping it and selling the parts.

"If someone was going to steal this car and sell it by parting it the door would go for a certain price, the front door, the back door, the hood all would go for a certain price," said Metro detective Reggie Miller.

The auto theft detective said that's why etching the VIN on every window is a good idea.

Most chop shops won't buy a part stamped or etched with a VIN.

Auto theft is the top property crime in the country.

The insurance industry said it is costing us all.

"Many people are surprised to find out that $200-$300 of your policy goes to cover the cost of auto theft," said Allison Hatcher, senior communication consultant for Allstate.

Older cars are especially vulnerable because they're easier to steal.

Many of them don't have alarms, and a lot of them have manual locks.

"Plus the parts on a lot of the older cars are interchangeable, so they're familiar with that, so they'll steal older cars," Miller said.

It's something to be aware of this holiday shopping season, because it's easy to be distracted.

"We're all busy.  We're shopping.  We're getting ready for the holidays, but thieves are busy, too," said WOMAN.

Other ways to protect yourself -- always lock your car. Park in a well-lit area, hide your valuables and don't leave your keys in the car.

Police said half of the cars stolen in Nashville have keys left in them.

If you'd like more information about VIN etching, contact your car insurance company. Many of them provide the service free of charge.

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