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July is National Theft Prevention Month and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wants to Keep your Vehicle Safe

Release Date: 
July 30, 2018

BALTIMORE - Part of CBP’s mission is to ensure that all import and export commodities comply with applicable U.S. laws and regulations and pose no threat to the United States.  CBP collaborates extensively with other federal agencies and industry partners, such as importers, shippers, terminal operators, shipping lines, and brokers to continuously develop innovative methods to efficiently clear cargo and review thousands of import and export permits, foreign government certifications, and invoices in order to ensure that products meet import or export requirements.  On average, CBP annually processes 90,000 automobiles for export from the United States at the Baltimore seaport.  So far in 2018, CBP in Baltimore has intercepted 52 stolen vehicles which have a domestic value of over $2 million.  These vehicles were intercepted before they could be shipped outside the U.S.

What you should know
Protect your vehicle from theft

“CBP serves as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration,” said Casey Durst, CBP's Director of the Baltimore Field Office.  “CBP safeguards America’s borders, in part, by examining imports and exports – including vehicles, for violations of U.S. laws and regulations.  Identifying and preventing stolen vehicles from leaving the country is just one part of our complex mission.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants you to keep your vehicle safe.  Vehicle theft is an expensive crime, with the cost of stolen vehicles pegged at more than $5.9 billion a year across the U.S.  Here are 10 things you can do to help protect your car:

  1. Don’t leave your car unlocked
  2. Never leave your car running, especially while it is unattended or unlocked
  3. Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle
    Many people keep a spare key under the car, just in case they get locked out and thieves know exactly where to check for an extra key. While getting locked out of your car is a pain, think about the potential hassle of your car getting stolen.
  4. Never leave your windows open
    Even during the summer when it is scorching hot, don’t leave your windows open or slightly cracked when you are not in the vehicle.
  5. Park in well-lit, public areas
    Avoid parking in areas that are poorly lit or places that are not immediately seen by the public. This will not only keep you safe when you exit the car, it will also help keep your car safe because thieves tend to avoid areas that are highly visible.
  6. Install an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device
    Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off. These devices are well worth the investment.
  7. Install a vehicle immobilizer system
    Thieves can bypass your ignition by “hotwiring” your car. You can prevent this by using a vehicle mobilizer system such as fuel cut-offs and smart keys.
  8. Consider installing a GPS tracking system
    When your car is stolen, this tracking system will emit a signal to the police of your vehicle’s location. This may help the police recover your vehicle faster and may minimize the damage to your car. This may be a good investment if you live in an area with high auto theft rates.
  9. Don’t leave valuable personal property in your car
    The best way to attract a thief is to leave your purse or another high-value item in a highly visible area of your car. If you must put something of value in your car, keep it in the trunk or under the seats, where it is not visible to others.
  10. Use Common Sense
    If you are wary of the safety of your car or see someone loitering around the parking lot, it’s best to park somewhere else. It’s better to walk a few extra steps than to have your car stolen because you ignored your instincts.

If your car is stolen, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends you give the following information to the police:

  • The year, make, model and color of the car and the license plate number
  • Approximate time the car was stolen
  • Description of anyone you saw loitering around your car before it was stolen
  • Names of witnesses

For additional resources, you can visit: https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/vehicletheftprevention.

CBP's Office of Field Operations lead’s the agency’s border security mission at 328 air, land and sea ports of entry.  Field Operations officers enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling and illegal importation, and by CBP agriculture specialists, who protect U.S. agriculture from the introduction of pests or disease from overseas sources.  Visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about CBP’s Office of Field Operations.

Learn more about "A Typical Day" for CBP in 2017, or by visiting www.CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
July 30, 2018