H.E.A.T. Auto Theft Prevention Tips Help Shoppers Stay Safe During Holiday Season

Nov 21, 2005, 00:00 ET from Help Eliminate Auto Thefts

    LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The hustle and bustle of the
 holidays is approaching fast and Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) aims to
 keep safety top-of-mind among preoccupied shoppers who are particularly
 vulnerable this season.
     "The shopping season is a hectic time and it's easy to become distracted
 while focused on your gift list or parcels," said Terri Miller, director of
 H.E.A.T.  "Thieves look forward to this time of year so they can capitalize on
 the common mistakes shoppers make, such as leaving vehicles unlocked and
 running or stowing gifts and shopping bags in open view instead of in the
 trunk."
     To help ensure the 2005 holiday shopping season stays safe for Michigan
 residents, H.E.A.T. recommends the following precautions:
 
     1.  Park in well-lit areas, near sidewalks or walkways.  Avoid parking
 near dumpsters or large vans or trucks.  These obstacles decrease your ability
 to see the space around your vehicle clearly, where thieves or carjackers
 could be hiding.
     2.  Consider using the valet service if you are out at a shopping center
 alone at night.  It may cost money, but your safety is worth more.  Leave the
 valet only the ignition key with no I.D.  Keep your registration and proof of
 insurance in your wallet.
     3.  Place gifts in the trunk and out of view.  Use a trash bag, blanket or
 cardboard box to camouflage packages in the back of a van or SUV.  If you're
 going back into the store or mall for more shopping, move your car to another
 area of the lot so thieves don't see you leaving a car full of valuable
 merchandise.
     4.  Try to keep one hand free with the other hand holding your car keys as
 you approach or leave your vehicle so you can maneuver if you encounter a
 thief or carjacker.
     5.  If threatened by a carjacker with a gun or other weapon, GIVE UP THE
 CAR.  DON'T ARGUE.  A life is more important than any car.
     6.  If you witness an auto theft or carjacking, call the police
 immediately.  If you have any information regarding an auto theft, insurance
 fraud or carjacking, call the H.E.A.T. tip reward line at 1-800-242-H.E.A.T.
 
     About H.E.A.T.
     Anyone with information on auto theft, carjacking, chop shops and auto
 insurance fraud in Michigan is encouraged to call the H.E.A.T. hotline,
 1-800-242-H.E.A.T., to provide a confidential report.  H.E.A.T. works with
 Michigan law enforcement agencies to follow up on tips, and has recovered more
 than $41 million in stolen property.  Tipsters are awarded up to $1,000 if
 their tip leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspected car thief or a
 person suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud.  Rewards of up to
 $10,000 are issued if a tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial
 of suspected theft ring or chop shop operators.  H.E.A.T. rewards up to $2,000
 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect.
 The H.E.A.T. hotline is monitored by the Michigan State Police and funded by
 Michigan's auto insurance companies.
 
 

SOURCE Help Eliminate Auto Thefts
    LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The hustle and bustle of the
 holidays is approaching fast and Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) aims to
 keep safety top-of-mind among preoccupied shoppers who are particularly
 vulnerable this season.
     "The shopping season is a hectic time and it's easy to become distracted
 while focused on your gift list or parcels," said Terri Miller, director of
 H.E.A.T.  "Thieves look forward to this time of year so they can capitalize on
 the common mistakes shoppers make, such as leaving vehicles unlocked and
 running or stowing gifts and shopping bags in open view instead of in the
 trunk."
     To help ensure the 2005 holiday shopping season stays safe for Michigan
 residents, H.E.A.T. recommends the following precautions:
 
     1.  Park in well-lit areas, near sidewalks or walkways.  Avoid parking
 near dumpsters or large vans or trucks.  These obstacles decrease your ability
 to see the space around your vehicle clearly, where thieves or carjackers
 could be hiding.
     2.  Consider using the valet service if you are out at a shopping center
 alone at night.  It may cost money, but your safety is worth more.  Leave the
 valet only the ignition key with no I.D.  Keep your registration and proof of
 insurance in your wallet.
     3.  Place gifts in the trunk and out of view.  Use a trash bag, blanket or
 cardboard box to camouflage packages in the back of a van or SUV.  If you're
 going back into the store or mall for more shopping, move your car to another
 area of the lot so thieves don't see you leaving a car full of valuable
 merchandise.
     4.  Try to keep one hand free with the other hand holding your car keys as
 you approach or leave your vehicle so you can maneuver if you encounter a
 thief or carjacker.
     5.  If threatened by a carjacker with a gun or other weapon, GIVE UP THE
 CAR.  DON'T ARGUE.  A life is more important than any car.
     6.  If you witness an auto theft or carjacking, call the police
 immediately.  If you have any information regarding an auto theft, insurance
 fraud or carjacking, call the H.E.A.T. tip reward line at 1-800-242-H.E.A.T.
 
     About H.E.A.T.
     Anyone with information on auto theft, carjacking, chop shops and auto
 insurance fraud in Michigan is encouraged to call the H.E.A.T. hotline,
 1-800-242-H.E.A.T., to provide a confidential report.  H.E.A.T. works with
 Michigan law enforcement agencies to follow up on tips, and has recovered more
 than $41 million in stolen property.  Tipsters are awarded up to $1,000 if
 their tip leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspected car thief or a
 person suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud.  Rewards of up to
 $10,000 are issued if a tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial
 of suspected theft ring or chop shop operators.  H.E.A.T. rewards up to $2,000
 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect.
 The H.E.A.T. hotline is monitored by the Michigan State Police and funded by
 Michigan's auto insurance companies.
 
 SOURCE  Help Eliminate Auto Thefts