July 14, 2011

H.E.A.T. Provides Tips to Help Keep Michigan Drivers Safe from Car Thieves this Summer

LIVONIA, Mich., July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the summer months bring warmth the warmth in turn brings out car thieves. Auto theft peaks in the hot months of July and August. H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts) once again cautions Michigan drivers to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings this summer as the rise in temperature often gives thieves easy access to vehicles and personal property.

"School is out for the summer, which means vacations and outdoor activities with family and friends. However, thieves are also out looking for unsuspecting victims," said Terri Miller, director of H.E.A.T. "Don't let thieves ruin your good time because you forgot to roll up your windows or left your keys in the car. Be sure to practice auto theft prevention while enjoying the nice weather."

"Year after year, the summer months continue to rank the highest in auto thefts, but that doesn't mean you have to be a victim," said Macomb County Sheriff Tony Wickersham. "It's important to remain educated and practice the simple things you can do to help fight auto theft-related crimes in Michigan."

H.E.A.T. is happy to provide drivers with the following tips for keeping cars and belongings safe now and throughout the upcoming warm weather months:

  • Lock and Load - Always lock your car when leaving it, and remember to set alarms or other anti-theft devices every time you get out. Close windows tightly, and don't forget the sunroof or convertible top. Add a second layer of protection to your vehicle by using a steering wheel locking device, a steering column protector or an alarm with a visible indicator.
  • Watch Those Wheels - Thieves are targeting tires and rims. Invest in locking lug nuts and park in your garage whenever possible.
  • Out of Sight - Keep all personal belongings, including GPS systems, iPods, cell phones and other valuables, out of sight.
  • Give and Go - If approached by a carjacker, GIVE UP YOUR CAR. Most carjackings involve a weapon, so give them your keys and get away from the scene quickly. No car is worth your life.
  • Keep Watch and Report Crime - Help your neighborhood by noting and reporting any suspicious activity and writing down descriptions, license plate numbers and other helpful information. If you know anything about auto theft, chop shops, carjacking or insurance fraud, report it day or night to your local police department and H.E.A.T.'s 24/7 confidential tip-reward line, 1-800-242-HEAT or online at 1800242HEAT.com.

About H.E.A.T.

H.E.A.T. works with Michigan law enforcement agencies to follow-up on tips. Tipsters are awarded up to $1,000 if the tip leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspected car thief or a person suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud. Rewards of up to $10,000 are issued if a tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial of a suspected theft ring or chop shop operators. H.E.A.T. rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect. The H.E.A.T. tip line is monitored by the Michigan State Police and funded by Michigan's auto insurance companies.

Follow H.E.A.T. on Facebook and @1800242HEAT on Twitter.