updated 4/10/2007 1:19:16 AM ET 2007-04-10T05:19:16

An estimated 1.2 million cars are stolen in the United States every year. Below are some tips on preventing theft or carjacking.

To prevent your car from being stolen:

  1. To keep your car from being stolen, install an alarm system.
  2. You can also use a security device like a steering wheel lock or a gear shift column lock.
  3. Keep your car in a garage and lock the garage door.
  4. If possible, always try to park in a well-lighted spot
  5. It's also a good idea never to leave valuables inside in plain sight. If you have to leave personal property in your car, leave it in the trunk.
  6. Keep your registration card in your wallet instead of your glove compartment. Often when thieves are pulled over or confronted by police, they can produce license and registration.
  7. Use paint or an indelible marker to put the vehicle identification number (VIN) under the engine hood and trunk lid and on the battery. This number is usually found on the dashboard on the driver’s side of the car.

To minimize the danger of being carjacked:

  1. If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Think of saving your life first. Only then, think of your car and what's in it.
  2. Beware of the "bump and rob" techniques. If another car bumps your car, stay inside with the windows shut and the door locked and drive to the nearest police or fire station.
  3. Don’t stop at isolated pay phones, cash machines or newspaper machines where you could become a carjacking victim.
  4. Stay alert to people lurking near or moving toward your parked car.
  5. Always keep the windows of your car shut and doors locked, whether you’re in or out of your car.
  6. Park only in well-lighted areas.

—Sources: NBC Security Consulant Bill Stanton, Insurance Information Institute, Geico.com

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