car thefts

MISSOULA, Mont. - According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, over 800,000 vehicles were reported stolen last year. Comparing that to previous years, we saw almost a 10% increase than the normal average. 

Cities like Missoula, Billings and Great Falls were recorded as the hotspot locations for car thefts in the state.

Especially for those recreationalists, leaving your car unattended for long periods of time leaves you vulnerable to a potential car theft. 

Ian Vernier, auto physical damager manager with AutoSafe, shares some ways you can prevent this from happening to you. 

"The biggest one is not leaving you vehicle overnight, or in the corner of some random lot, that sits way back off the road. I think that makes you more of a target for these criminals than leaving it in a well lit area that has hustle and bustle around it," Vernier said. 

Insurance providers also point out, no matter the car your drive, anybody can fall victim. And, although the weather may tempt us to go against common safety procedures, it's NOT recommended.

"I know in Montana, it's hot in the summer, then cold in the winter. You want to start your car up and warm it up... Don't do that," he said. 

Insurance company Safe Auto shares a few tips to avoid this from happening to you.

- Keep those cars locked

 - Don't leave your car running or unattended

 - Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight

 - Be aware of your surroundings

- Never leave your keys in your car

For those who unfortunately do fall victim to car thefts, you're encouraged to call your insurance company, and keep in mind that financial support will be based on the policy you had prior to the incident.