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A Helping Hand from OnStar when Car Thieves Strike

Oct 07, 2019

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A Helping Hand from OnStar when Car Thieves Strike

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See how OnStar can help if your vehicle ends up in the wrong hands.

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See how OnStar can help if your vehicle ends up in the wrong hands.

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Car thieves don’t take vacations. Fortunately, neither does OnStar

Travel tends to be seasonal — visiting families during the fall and winter holidays, and of course road trips and vacations when it’s warmer. This time of year, you may be gathering with loved ones, heading to see family in another state, touring a new city or exploring a park. However you’re spending your free time, your vehicle’s security is probably the last thing on your mind — but it should be a top priority.

That’s because car thieves don’t take vacations. And while vehicle thefts traditionally spike in late summer through early fall, it pays to be careful all year long. That means drivers need to be extra vigilant about keeping their vehicle secure.

“In summer and into the early fall, we see a higher number of auto thefts than we do at other times of the year,” says Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau. But he cautions that doesn’t mean drivers can be complacent at other times: “Don’t get too caught up in the fun and forget about the darker side of life, no matter where you are.”

Travelers visiting new towns or pulling over at roadside attractions should be mindful of finding secure parking areas whenever possible.

“When people are not in familiar areas, or they park to go take in a sight here and there, the only available parking could be on the street or in a public lot,” says Scafidi. “Those are just tempting spots for vehicle thieves.”

Car keys sit on the dashboard of a Chevrolet vehicle.
Younger criminals might wander neighborhoods and parking areas trying to find unlocked cars — especially ones with the keys left inside.

Detective Sergeant Nicole Quisenberry, head of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Auto Theft Unit in Michigan, agrees there’s a noticeable spike in vehicle thefts during this timeframe — as much as a 10 to 15 percent increase.

She also notes that warmer climate regions in general can encourage more opportunistic thefts. Younger criminals, she says, might wander neighborhoods and parking areas trying to find unlocked cars — especially ones with the keys left inside.

“When they find the keys in the car, they’ll then steal the car. It’s easy,” says Detective Sergeant Quisenberry. “But if they come across a door that’s locked, they’ll just move on to the next car.”

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take while traveling to help reduce your risk of vehicle theft. “It’s simply just lock the vehicle,” says Scafidi. On top of that, make sure there’s nothing on display that could tempt a break-in. “Hide souvenirs from your visits; don’t leave them in a conspicuous place,” he says.

No matter the time of year, OnStar Members have a good reason not to let vehicle theft stress them out. That’s because if your vehicle is stolen or tampered with, OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance*18 technology can help stop car thieves in their tracks. For starters, Theft Alarm Notification*19 can send you an alert if your GM vehicle’s factory-installed security alarm is engaged and triggered.

However, Detective Sergeant Quisenberry warns owners to stay safe and refrain from intervening if they witness a break-in. “Don’t try to approach them. Call 911 and OnStar,” she says. “Don’t try to chase them down.”

After all, if thieves strike, OnStar Advisors can work with law enforcement to help get your vehicle back quicker and safer. Even when criminals are working overtime, you can relax knowing OnStar is on your side.

If your car is stolen, an Advisor can pinpoint its location using GPS and share that information with law enforcement so they can find and recover your vehicle quicker. An Advisor can also activate Remote Ignition Block™ to prevent a thief from restarting the car once it has been turned off.

In addition, when conditions are appropriate, the Advisor can work with law enforcement to employ Stolen Vehicle Slowdown,® which can remotely slow the vehicle to an idle speed.

Hopefully, your plans will never be interrupted by vehicle theft. But if they are, you can rest easier knowing you’ve got the safety and security of OnStar. So whatever your plans are and wherever your busy life takes you, you don’t need to stress about car thieves.

A man's hand holds on to a vehicle's door latch.
Locking your vehicle is one of the simplest steps you can take to reduce your risk of vehicle theft.