DETROIT -

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) reports that New Year’s is the worst day for car thefts each year. There were 2,347 cars reported stolen last New Year’s Day, 200 more than Memorial Day, the second most popular day for car thievery.

There are several reasons for this – one is that people tend to leave their cars in foreign locations overnight and take cabs home after a night of holiday partying. They also inadvertently forget to lock their doors, or even leave their cars running unattended as they duck into the store for a bottle of champagne.

NCIB recommends these tips to keep you protected:

  • Consider leaving your car at home and taking a cab both to and from your holiday party, rather than driving to a destination and cabbing it home. A car left over night is an open invitation to would-be thieves.  

  • Visibility is key. Always park in a well-lit, populated area, such as a busy parking lot or secure garage. Not only is this safer for your car, but it is also safer for you walking to and from it.

  • Make it difficult for them. Double-check that all doors are locked, windows are closed and the car alarm is activated, if you have one. Or even take it a step further by pulling up the emergency brake and removing you car battery cables.

  • It's not uncommon for many of us to use our cars as storage. This time of year, people even hide gifts in the car to prevent family members from snooping. Remember to store your valuables in your house or another safe place before you hit the road – car insurance does not cover items stolen from your vehicle.  

  • Consider a GPS-enabled device that can instantly track your car, if you’re one of the unlucky ones and your car is stolen. Not only will this most likely save you money on your insurance premium, but modern devices allow you to find your car within hours, rather than after it’s been stripped for parts and abandoned outside the city limits. In addition, theft recovery devices often help police catch career car thieves in action, so you're helping to solve and prevent the crime in the future.