Car jackings, catalytic converter theft, and motor vehicle theft in general have been climbing nationwide, but few states have seen a faster rise in these cases than Illinois. The Cook County sheriff has warned the public of a dramatic spike in Chicago car jackings and car thefts while urging local vehicle owners to take additional precautions to safeguard their cars.
Some vehicles are more vulnerable to theft than others. For example, more than 7,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were stolen in Chicago in 2022. This spike emerged after thieves discovered a way to exploit a weakness in certain models that lacked engine mobilizers. With auto thieves discovering new hacks that make theft easier, it's often up to car owners to take additional steps to protect their vehicles and property.
Preventing motor vehicle theft in Cook County
Police data shows the incidence of stolen cars is up 96% in 2022, with more than 18,000 car thefts occurring throughout the year. This figure nearly doubles that of all stolen vehicles in Chicago in 2021, which was just under 9,000 total incidents. To reduce your risk of having your vehicle stolen, here are some actions recommended by the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Choose well-lit parking spots
Always park your car on well-lit streets and parking lots in high-traffic areas. The lighting illuminates your car and the area around it, making it difficult for thieves to test your car doors and trunk without being seen. Parking in a high-traffic area ensures there will be someone walking by your car often, which is also a deterrent to thieves looking for an easy score.
Choose close parking spots
Park your vehicle as close as possible to your destination. If someone is watching you leave your car, this lets them know they probably won’t have time to access your car uninterrupted because you are likely running a short errand. The uncertainty and increased risk of detection are often enough for thieves to move on to another target.