DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – AAA is reminding drivers to always lock their cars and take their keys with them in 2022.

In 2020 and 2021, AAA said that vehicle thefts broke record numbers and continued to rise. This year, AAA wants drivers to make a New Year’s resolution to always lock their vehicles and take the keys.

“There could not be a resolution that takes less time and effort and yet the savings could be dramatic,” says Dan Scroggins, managing director, AAA Insurance. “More often than not, vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity. Lock your car, take your keys and take that opportunity away.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau said that across Ohio, over 25,000 people reported their vehicles were stolen in 2020, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

And these thefts can often cost the owners more than they’d expect. While liability insurance is required in all states, coverage against theft is optional.

AAA said the average claim for stolen vehicles was anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 per car.

“We are happy to help clients recover their losses, but we’d be even happier if they could help them to avoid the harrowing experience of having their vehicle stolen in the first place by simply removing the keys,” Scroggins said.

AAA lists several ways to prevent having your vehicle stolen:

  • Never leave your vehicle running with the keys in it
  • Never leave your keys in the vehicle, especially if your car is “keyless”
  • Always lock your car
  • Park in a garage or well-lit area where suspicious activity would be noticible
  • Keep valubles out of sight