California Leads in Thefts of Vehicles With Keys Inside

All the anti-theft technology in the world is no match for the level of boneheadedness it takes to leave one's keys in one's ride. Thus is the source of the latest automotive survey that will have you reposing this blog post on your social media pages, paired with a #SMH hashtag.

An analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau showed that 126,603 vehicles nationwide were reported stolen with the keys still in them from 2012-2014. While the bureau reports that overall car thefts are declining, the number of vehicles stolen with the keys inside is actually on the rise. In 2012, 39,345 cars stolen had their keys in them - often in the ignition with the vehicle still running. The next year, that figure rose to 42,430, then swelled to 44,828 in 2014.

The top five states where the most vehicle thefts with keys occurred are:

  1. California: 19,597
  2. Texas: 8,796
  3. Florida: 7,868
  4. Michigan: 7,726
  5. Ohio: 7,452

These thefts primarily occurred on Saturdays (19,147), with Fridays (18,719) and Mondays (18,647).

"Am I shocked by these numbers? Not one bit," said NICB CEO Joe Wehrle in a media statement. "In fact, I'm sure the numbers are probably higher, because we are only able to determine the thefts where the car was recovered with the keys inside, or where someone admitted they left the keys in the car or the ignition. Many times that is not admitted in the police report or the insurance claim."

The moral of this story is to take your keys with you, even if you're just running back into the house for the cell phone you forgot or into your favorite coffee shop in a seemingly safe area with a picture window view of your parking space. We here at E3 Spark Plugs urges you to remember that car thieves move fast, and seeing your keys dangling from the ignition or tossed into the center console is a veritable advertisement that screams "PLEASE, TAKE MY CAR!"


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