Car Thieves Don't Stay Home for the Holidays, Insurance Crime Watchdog Warns | NBC4 Washington
Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Car Thieves Don't Stay Home for the Holidays, Insurance Crime Watchdog Warns

Over two thousand vehicles were reported stolen last Black Friday, New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve, per NICB data

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    Getty Images, File
    In this 200f file photo, cars fill the parking lot of a Leesburg, Virginia, mall on Black Friday. In 2015, 2,244 vehicles were reported stolen on the day of heavy retail shopping (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Better lock up your car this holiday season.

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau released a report Tuesday showing a total of 9,600 vehicles were reported stolen in the 2015 holiday season: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The insurance reporting and crime watchdog group urges shoppers to lock unattended cars and remain aware as they shop during the holiday season.

    The busiest day for car thieves last year was Halloween, with 2,238 vehicles stolen, according to the data. New Year’s Eve was the second busiest holiday, with a total of 2,227 thefts, and Labor Day followed with 2,171 thefts.

    On Christmas Eve, 2,071 thefts were reported, while Memorial Day closes out the top five with 2,040 reported thefts.

    The most thefts on a single day occurred on June 15, with 2,579 thefts. According to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, over 750,000 vehicle thefts were reported for the full year.

    According to the NICB, Black Friday is also a day to watch out for, as many retailers have begun holding Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving evening. Since 2011, there have been, on average, about 30 percent more car thefts on Black Friday as opposed to Thanksgiving Day. 

    Last year, 2,244 vehicles were reported stolen on the day of heavy retail shopping, while only 1,653 were swiped on Thanksgiving. 

    Thieves may be lured by additional shopping hours and unattended vehicles in parking lots, the group said.

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    The group offered some common-sense tips for holiday shoppers and revelers to protect their cars: "NICB reminds drivers this holiday season to make sure your vehicle is locked when unattended. Don’t leave spare keys or FOBS inside. Take a moment and be sure to hide your valuables from view. Even an empty backpack looks appealing to a thief from the outside.

    "If stopping at several locations to shop, remember to first store your packages in your trunk before leaving one destination for the next. Thieves are known to watch shoppers who place items in their trunks and then head for the stores—that invites trouble.”