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Car Thieves Love Jan. 1: Resolve to Protect Your Ride with These Tips

It may be the holiday season, but criminals don’t take a holiday — so while you’re butchering the lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne," auto thieves may be taking your car to the chop shop.

Among the major American holidays, one coming up very soon has proven to be crunch time for crooks.

According to the latest holiday theft report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, New Year’s Day ranks No. 1 for stolen cars, with 2,469 reported incidents. That’s 241 more than the daily average for the year of 2,228. New Year’s Day is followed by Presidents Day at No. 2, with 2,312 thefts. Halloween, which ranked No. 1 the previous two years, falls to No. 3 with 2,297. And Memorial Day is on the list at No. 4, with 2,290.

But there is at least some rest for the wicked. While Jan. 1 might be a day to keep close tabs on your car, NYE was NBD.

Related: Are You Driving the Most Stolen Type of Car in the U.S.?

After decades of decline, auto theft has had a bit of a resurgence recently as thieves find clever new ways of cracking your car’s antitheft technology. But a little common sense goes a long way:

  • Keep your car locked when unattended, and never leave the key or key fob inside, as 57,000 people did one recent year, resulting in a 22 percent spike in theft by key.
  • Remove anything of value from view, as even an empty backpack or loose change looks appealing to a thief.
  • Still exchanging gifts? Stow packages in the trunk before driving to the next store in case you’re being watched.
  • And never leave your garage-door opener in the car or program your address in the GPS system under something obvious like “Home,” as it could lead thieves straight to your house while you’re out.

Start the new year out right — make common sense your resolution.

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