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What Should you do if Your Car is Stolen?

What can I do when my car is stolen?How do I report a stolen car? How do I approach the police about a stolen car? How do I recover a stolen car?

These are all questions we ask ourselves if our car is stolen. The following was provided to us by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC):

Facilitating the Police Response to Vehicle Tracking Theft Alerts

Important: Under no circumstances should owners attempt to locate and retrieve a stolen vehicle before the police have attended and determined that it is safe to do so and that they do not require the vehicle to remain where it is for investigative or forensic purposes.

A report of a stolen vehicle being tracked in real time will almost always, subject to resource priorities, facilitate an immediate response by police due to the possibility of arresting the offender while they are still in possession of the vehicle.

While the police response will always depend on the individual circumstances of the incident, in most cases where the vehicle is still moving the police communications operator will need to conduct a three-way conversation; with the owner relaying the vehicle’s location and direction of travel to the operator and the operator directing patrol units accordingly.

The owner therefore has an important role in assisting the police response. In the event of a suspected theft incident the owner should:

1. Quickly assess that the vehicle has actually been stolen and is not simply being used by another authorised person such as a family member or employee. (This will avoid unnecessary reports).

2. Log on to their tracking device and determine the vehicle’s current status including: time since the vehicle was first moved, its present location and whether it is still moving. (Where significant time has elapsed and the vehicle is not moving it may have already been abandoned or alternatively the offender may be retaining it for later use).

3. Be prepared to advise the police communications operator of the make, model, year, colour and registration number of the vehicle and any known circumstances surrounding the incident up to that point.

4. Contact the police emergency call number applicable for their state.

Police Call Centre Numbers: All States (except Victoria) 131 444 - Victoria 000

5. Clearly and calmly state their name and address, that their vehicle has been stolen and that they are currently tracking it in real time. Give clear and precise details of its current status.

6. Depending on the status of the vehicle and police resources immediately available the operator will determine the urgency and type of response required and direct the owner accordingly.

[Photo Credit: Dickelbers, via Wikimedia Commons]

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