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Car and Bicycle Theft Prevention

California has more vehicle thefts than any other state. So, securing one’s car requires ongoing vigilance on the part of vehicle owners in California.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has data, theft prevention tips, and reports. The NHTSA also provides a Theft Database where users can search for theft rates among different makes and models of vehicles.

Car Theft Prevention Tips

  • Remember your keys. Don’t leave keys in the car or hide a spare.
  • Lock and close all windows and doors.
  • Park in well-lit spots, when possible.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car, especially in visible areas.
  • Use anti-theft or automatic tracking devices.
    (Sources: AAA of Southern California and NHTSA.)

If your vehicle has been stolen…

  • Contact police to file a stolen vehicle report. Save the police report for your insurance claim, and be prepared to give car’s make, model, color, license plate number, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • File an insurance claim within 24 hours of theft.
  • Contact police and insurance if you find the vehicle before they do.

Bicycle Theft and Registration

The LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) has an excellent reference page on “Codes, Laws and Regulations for Bicyclists.”

The page includes tips on what to do if your bicycle is stolen, including:

  • File a report with police.
  • Register your stolen bike at
  • Contact your insurance company. Your bike may be covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
  • Look for your bike on craigslist, eBay, or other resale websites. Also look at bike shops and garage sales.
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