ALBANY — The state Department of Motor Vehicles is warning vehicle owners of a rise in thefts in New York City and statewide.

Owners are being reminded of ways to prevent their vehicles from being stolen. Statewide, vehicle thefts increased 54 percent from 2019 to 2020.

“Leaving your key fob in the vehicle or leaving it running while you run into your home or the store are two of the most common factors in vehicle thefts,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder in a news release. “Don’t make your car an easy target. I urge you to be cautious and always make sure your vehicle is locked and not left running, even for a minute, and never leave your vehicle title or valuables in the car.”

Statewide motor vehicle thefts rose 54 percent from 12,702 in 2019 to 19,573 in 2020.

Vehicle theft rates are highest in the summer season, and July has been designated National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month.

To reduce the risk of vehicle theft:

n Do not leave your vehicle title in the car.

n Keep your vehicle locked.

n When parked, never leave your keys in the car.

n Never leave your car running and unattended.

n Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them

Consumers can learn more about what to do if a vehicle is stolen on the DMV website. The DMV also offers guidance on what to do if your license plates are stolen, whether they are taken with the car or stolen off the car, on its “Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Plates” page.

Before you purchase a vehicle, you can check whether it is stolen by going to the National Insurance Crime Bureau page and entering the Vehicle Identification Number.

Vehicle owners should also take steps to avoid an insurance lapses on stolen vehicles. New Yorkers can visit the “Insurance Lapses on Stolen Vehicles” page to learn how to protect themselves.

For more information about DMV, visit dmv.ny.gov, or follow the DMV conversation online at Facebook and Twitter.

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