What Is The Stolen Car Investigation Process – 5 Steps To Follow If Your Car Is Stolen
Have you ever looked inside your pocket and realized your iPhone was missing? We have all felt that sense of panic and worry even over something so small as a stolen or misplaced mobile phone. Well, now imagine if your car is stolen. How scary would it be to deal with auto theft,especially if that was your only method of transportation? This is why you need to learn every crucial detail regarding the stolen vehicle investigation process, and what to do if you are ever a victim of car theft. In this article, we will discuss what to do if your car has been stolen in 5 easy steps. Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Report The Vehicle Theft Immediately
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When you discover your car is stolen, act immediately; time is crucial. Contact your local police directly, making the first vital step in recovering your vehicle. Provide them with specific details: license plate, make, model, VIN, and color. Include any unique marks or features; these are critical in identifying your car among thousands. This step is the cornerstone of car theft response, initiating law enforcement action.
Your swift action assists theft investigators to start tracking your vehicle promptly. It prevents potential insurance fraud and deters further property crime. By reporting quickly, you also help maintain public safety. Ensure you mention any theft prevention devices installed, like a GPS car tracker. This information could be vital for a quick recovery.
Remember, the details you provide can significantly aid police officers. The more they know, the better they can spot your car. Reporting the theft without delay increases the likelihood that your car will be returned to its rightful owner. Keep your insurance company informed; timely reporting can affect your claim process. If your vehicle is recovered, your prompt action will be part of the success story.
Initiate a Thorough Police Report
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Immediately after contacting law enforcement, you’ll be tasked with filing a police report. Who you are – the victim – shapes the entire narrative. What you provide in detail enriches the investigation’s foundation. When this occurs right after the theft, it ensures timely action. Where this happens, typically at your local police station or via their website, sets the jurisdiction in motion.
Why is this critical? The police report becomes the official record. It guides law enforcement agency efforts and can impact the recovery rate. In the U.S., for instance, 46% of stolen vehicles were recovered in 2020, as per the Insurance Information Institute. Your thorough account boosts these statistics, helping investigators pinpoint your car swiftly.
Ensure every fact is clear: the car’s description, last known location, and any evidence of the crime. This attention to detail can deter auto theft rings and assist in apprehending criminals. It also aids in distinguishing your case from others, aligning with the rightful owner’s interest in public safety and property protection.
By providing a comprehensive report, you’re not just a statistic; you become a proactive participant in the resolution of your case.
Secure National Alert On Stolen Vehicle
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After reporting your stolen vehicle, it’s vital to confirm its entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. This step signals a nationwide alert to all law enforcement agencies. You ensure your stolen car’s details are broadcasted across the country. Such dissemination is crucial; the FBI reported that in 2020, the NCIC assisted in recovering over 300,000 stolen vehicles.
It’s your role to verify that local police add your car’s specifics: make, model, VIN, and license plate. The “when” is immediately after filing the report; any delay can decrease recovery chances. Where this happens is behind the scenes, but your follow-up can prompt swift action.
Why is this necessary? Because law enforcement’s reach extends as far as the data takes them. The NCIC entry not only aids in vehicle thefts resolution but also hampers interstate auto theft operations. With this action, you’re not just a victim; you’re an advocate for your property’s recovery and public safety.
Leverage ANPR Technology In The Search
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Recognize the power of technology in recovering your stolen vehicle. Law enforcement’s use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is a game-changer in vehicle theft investigations. When on patrol, police officers use ANPR to scan and cross-reference license plates with the NCIC database where your car’s details should be listed.
Understanding the “what” is key: ANPR systems can read number plates at various speeds and angles, crucial in busy traffic conditions. The “who” involves patrol officers equipped with these tools, actively searching for your car. Knowing “when” this technology is in use—usually immediately after the NCIC entry—provides hope that your vehicle might be spotted sooner.
The “where” spans across highways, city streets, and parking lots, wherever patrol cars are operating. And “why” is simple: ANPR significantly increases the chances of identifying stolen vehicles, often leading to recovery. As ANPR systems become more widespread, the likelihood of locating stolen cars improves, acting as a deterrent to potential thieves and contributing to the overall safety of the community.
Aid the Ongoing Theft Investigation
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Finally, stay engaged to ensure your case doesn’t grow cold. Regularly touch base with the detective handling your case. Providing fresh insights or overlooked details can be vital, as detectives depend on such information to move the investigation forward. Your initiative can directly influence the efficiency and outcome of the search.
In the event your vehicle is found, it undergoes forensic scrutiny. This phase is where evidence, from fingerprints to DNA, is harvested to track down the culprit. It’s a testament to persistence and collaboration between you and the police force. Such diligence pays off; the FBI’s 2020 statistics show a recovery rate of 56% for stolen vehicles. Every piece of evidence you contribute helps inch that percentage higher, aiding not only in your vehicle’s return but also in holding the responsible party accountable. Your active participation is key to transforming these statistics into real-world recoveries.
The Best 10 Ways To Prevent Car Theft
Now that you know what to do if your automobile is stolen, let’s now discuss what you can do to prevent car thefts from happening in the future. Why? So you hopefully never have to deal with a claims adjuster or a long auto theft investigation again!
When dealing with vehicle thefts, success starts with vehicle theft prevention techniques!Luckily, professionals offer the following tips to help you avoid being a victim, and also help if your vehicle is stolen. Let’s dive in
- The very first step in preventing car theftis to keep your doors locked. It’s a good idea to get into the practice of lockingyour car doors regularly. So, lock your doors whenever you park your automobile. Any modern insurance adjusters will recommend this as well.
- Take your vehicle keys out of the car. Never leave your keys in the car! A burglar can break the glass and drive away if you leave the keys inside the vehicle.
- Some people leave a spare key under the automobile. If they forget the keys inside the car, a spare key comes in handy. However, thieves know where to look for a spare key. They have a search procedure to look for spare keys. As a result, take all of your keys with you, and don’t leave spare keys inside or outside of the car.
- You must close all of your windows entirely. An open window allows a burglar to get access to your vehicle. They can obtain access to your car and everything inside by unlocking the door.
- Safety experts don’t recommend parking in dimly lit places. Law enforcement recommends parking beneath a light and in a heavily frequented location. Thieves may be discouraged if they are aware that they are clearly visible.
- An audible alarm system is ideal for stopping vehicle thefts. These blaring alarms alert everyone in the vicinity with a loud noise. Therefore, these loud alarms deter vehicle thefts.
- Hotwiring your automobile allows thieves to bypass your starter. A car immobilizer system can prevent this. Smart keys, kill switches, and remote ignition verification is all part of immobilizer systems. This helps to avoid vehicle thefts. You can also use ignition locking for this.
- Installing a vehicle tracking system is a great way to quickly recover an automobile if it is ever stolen. Theanti-theft device will send a text message or email alert to you or the police using GPS technology. As a result, you’ll always know where your stolen vehicle is in real-time It will also help the authorities to track down your car. So, a GPS tracking system is the best option for protecting your mobile assets.
- Leave no personal items in the vehicle. Thieves won’t feel compelled to break into your car this way. Thieves often break into cars to steal valuables. So, keep your personal items with you and not in the car.
- Keep an eye on the parking area. If you see random people lurking around, park elsewhere. This is a useful sign that the area isn’t safe. So, park in a safe and well-lit area.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take for A Stolen Car to Be in The System?
The faster your stolen vehicle is put into the police database the more quickly law enforcement can be looking for the vehicle. Therefore, call the cops as soon as you’ve established that your car has been stolen!You must report the vehicle crime at the earliest for the claims process. The cops use id cards to add cars to the list. The police record and official complaint will come in handy later. Furthermore, it will allow law enforcement officials to keep a lookout for the stolen car. They will request you provide details such as where you last spotted the car and any other information that can help them identify the automobile.
Once you report your vehicle has been stolen, it will take up to two days for the vehicle to be in the system. The reported entry and transfer process from the police departments can easily take up to 48 hours in any region. So, it may take two days for your vehicle license plate to be on the stolen vehicle list after your car was stolen. The process may take longer due to unusual delays at the investigation unit.
How Long Does It Take for A Stolen Car to Be Found?
Did you know that 700,000 cars or more go missing annually in the United States? According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 1 in 5 stolen cars goes back to the owner. So, the ratio of recovered vehicles is roughly 20% of the total stolen vehicle list. Similarly, it may take up to 11 to 15 days to recover a stolen car. So, you will have to wait up to two weeks until your vehicle is recovered, assuming police are successful at recovering the automobile.
Additionally, around 30% of the recovered cars come back damaged according to anyfinancing or leasing company. This damage is nearly $1,459 on average. This is yet another thing you need to know when dealing with vehicle thefts. In the Midwest, the ratio of car recovery is about 24%. However, in the Northeast, the percentage goes down to 19%. Overall, the national average is approximately 20% for stolen vehicle recovery.
If you are a teenager, you can get insurance for teens to protect your car as well. If your vehicle was stolen, this type of comprehensive coverage will be useful in reducing some of the expenses associated with theft. It is also useful for vehicles identification. You can get a car insurance quote instantly from most agencies in your local area and they can also provide more information that will help you regarding car stolen situations.
Car insurance companies offer useful stolen car insurance. However, look at the minimum car insurance requirements before investing in it.
What Happens When Your Car is Stolen then Found?
If your stolen car is recovered, the recovering officers from the department of motor vehicles will inform you right away. You can contact your insurance company to inform them of the development. If your vehicle is damaged, a comprehensive from your insurance agency will cover the cost of repairs. You’d be responsible for the deductible amount with your auto insurance claim. This way, you will not have to face the total loss alone. The majority of insurance providers offer comprehensive auto insurance with a 30-day waiting period. They then proclaim the stolen vehicle to be permanently lost. Your auto insurance company will then give you the “fair market value” of your car. This is how much a car like yours would sell for on the marketplace.
Related Content: GPS Tracker For Car Anti Theft
- What Is The Stolen Car Investigation Process – 5 Steps To Follow If Your Car Is Stolen
- The Best 10 Ways To Prevent Car Theft
- Frequently Asked Questions