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Car break-ins & theft

Keep yourself from becoming a statistic

Where we live, family life is dependent on our cars. From grocery pick up, to work, to taking the kids to school and sports practice, most moms have zero amount of time to devote to recovering from any kind of auto theft.

And auto thefts are on the rise: it may have slowed during the pandemic, but it more than bounced back. In fact, Oregon was ranked fifth in the nation for car thefts in 2021.

Catalytic converter theft

A popular theft lately is of catalytic converters. Many drivers aren’t aware they’ve been a victim until they start their cars and notice an unusual roaring sound, increase in exhaust and/or a sputtering as they drive. The converters contain high value precious metals that thieves sell for cash, and according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts increased 1,215% between 2019 and 2022.

Consider anti-theft measures for your car’s catalytic converter, such as painting, etching or having a protection shield installed.

There are numerous ways to protect yourself. Maintaining your own situational awareness is key, plus:

  • Warming up your car? You’d better stay in it, with doors locked. Thieves have been known to brazenly steal running cars right out of driveways on a workday morning.

  • Your purse: do not leave it in the car. Same goes for diaper bags, which can look purse-like and tempt thieves. When experts say to keep valuables out of your parked vehicles, they mean it. Not hidden under seats or coats.

  • Lock your doors. This simple act could be what keeps your life humming along, or going without wheels and through a lengthy reporting process. If you worry about a rare emergency event, keep a window breaker tool in your glove box.

  • Park in well-lit places. Your secured garage is preferred, but we know garages often become catchalls for yard tools, toys and more. If your vehicle sits overnight in your driveway, install motion lights and cameras.

  • Park away from bushes, trees or other objects that obscure the sight lines. This deters thieves (as well as critters that like to take up refuge under the hood).

  • Put a GPS tracker in your vehicle. These tiny devices can be purchased for about $30, though note that some require annual subscriptions.

  • Do not store your vehicle title in your car. Or credit card information, your wallet or work lanyards/ID cards.

  • Watch for anyone following you home. A recent and frightening theft is to catch a person off guard as they pull up into their driveway or garage.

The overarching theme here is taking precautions before you have to deal with any of the fallout. It’s worth the effort to keep your car — and your life — running smoothly.

Sources: Car and Driver, National Insurance Crime Bureau


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Meet Laura Augustine

Laura Augustine has worked as a finance assistant at Capitol Auto Group for 7 years. She is the proud mom of three kids (four, if you count her husband Chad): Ariel, age 23; Claudia, age 22; and Bryson, age 18. As a family, they love to go fishing and boating at Detroit Lake, and they also have four Saint Bernard Dogs: Grace, Ted, Jerry and Stuart.


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