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Don’t Be Tricked

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Halloween is a Treat for Car Thieves

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – Halloween is a day which can elicit a full array of feelings. It can be scary, terrifying, sad, happy, fun or silly, depending on your point-of-view. The day can also leave you sick to your stomach – and not just from excessive amounts of candy.

Have you ever gone to look for your car or truck and it’s just not there? You search and search – and then look some more – but nothing. Slowly, it begins to dawn on you as that sinking feeling sets in. Your ride has been stolen.

Guess what? Today – Halloween, Oct. 31 – is the day when more vehicles are broken into or stolen in Texas than any other day of the year, according to data from Allstate Insurance.

Allstate looked at auto claims data over the last ten years (2007-2018) and “… identified Oct. 31 as the day with the most car break-ins and total car thefts.” 

In a recent industry-related interview, Tyler-based Allstate agency owner Kelly Henshaw urged trick-or-treaters to be careful concerning their vehicles.

“People should take precautions while trick-or-treating to ensure a safe and fun Halloween for their children, but it’s important to also protect your vehicle and belongings while you’re out celebrating. Leaving your car running while unoccupied, leaving your car unlocked or leaving valuables in plain sight can lead to ruining your Halloween fun.”

Allstate recommends taking these steps to help ensure your car is safe on Oct. 31 and throughout the year:

  • Keep the Tricksters Out (Lock it up and roll ‘em up) – An unlocked door or rolled-down window gives thieves fast access to everything in the car. Also, never leave your vehicle running or the smart key inside the car while it is unattended.  
  • Look around – Park in well-lit areas of the parking lot or street. Look for safety benefits like security cameras or pedestrian activity. Lights, cameras and law-abiding citizens are turn-offs for thieves.
  • Hide it or take it along – If it’s too bulky to keep in your possession, store valuable items in the trunk of the car or out of sight—and do it before you park. Waiting to hide valuables until you’ve arrived can allow a thief to watch where you stow your stuff.
  • No Tricks, Just Treats (Deter thieves) – Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off. Consider installing an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device. Check with your insurance provider; you may receive a discount on your auto insurance for some of these devices.
  • Understand your insurance coverage – In the unfortunate event items from your car or the car itself are stolen, it’s important to understand your insurance coverage. Comprehensive auto insurance typically covers vandalism to your vehicle or replacement value for the stolen car. Generally, that’s only if what’s stolen was factory-installed. Personal property inside or on the car— bikes, cell phones, backpacks—is typically covered by homeowners, renters or condo policies. Apartment dwellers can find themselves unprotected if they don’t have renters insurance.  

Allstate encourages Texans to stay safe this Halloween and contact their local insurance agent with questions about prevention tips or their auto insurance coverage.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.