Salt Lake City police are warning the public that car thieves have been targeting older Hondas, so take extra precautions.
More than 450 Hondas, mostly Civics and Accords with model years between 1990 and 2000, have been stolen and recovered this year, according to the police. The auto-theft unit also recovered an additional 125 Hondas that were stolen from nearby jurisdictions.
"It's spiked this last month or so, which is consistent with the national average for July and August" being the busiest for car thefts, said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Stefhan Bennett, who heads the auto-theft unit.
The car was locked in the vast majority of these cases the thieves have figured out a way to alter keys to get in anyway, Bennett said. The cars are not stripped for parts, just dumped, so the unit figures the thieves are mostly just taking them for a free ride, he said.
Police have made several arrests in connection with car thefts in the last few weeks, Bennett said. He hopes that has an impact on the theft rate.
It may be an inconvenience, but Bennett suggested people put a locking device on the steering wheel.
Regardless of make or model, the police encourage everyone to deter car thieves with such devices and by not leaving keys in the car, leaving the car unattended while it's running, rolling up the windows, locking the doors and parking in well-lit areas. The police also advise that people take valuables out of the vehicle or make sure they are out of sight.
For more tips, visit the auto-theft unit Web page at slcpd.com/autotheftunit.