It may be the holiday season, but auto thieves don't take a holiday.
So while you're stealing a kiss under the mistletoe, they may be stealing your car right from under your nose.
Among major American holidays, those falling at the end of the year are crunch time for crooks.
In 2016, New Year's Day ranked No. 3 with 2,242 stolen cars reported. Meanwhile, New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve ranked Nos. 5 and 7, respectively, with between 2,050 and 2,100 thefts each.
But thieves do seem to want some time off: Compared with the daily average for the year, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving were fairly quiet.
Turkey Day may not have been stuffed with stolen-car reports, but Black Friday, while not a holiday, was a bargain-shopping bonanza for car thieves, who scored hot deals on 2,262 cars — putting it just behind the No. 1 car-theft holiday, Halloween, which saw nearly 2,600 thefts.
After decades of steady decline, auto theft is on the rise as thieves find clever ways of cracking your car's anti-theft technology.
But a little common sense still goes a long way:
Keep your car locked when unattended and never leave the key or fob inside as 57,000 people did in 2015, resulting in a 22-percent spike in theft-by-key.
- Remove anything of value from view, as even an empty backpack looks appealing to a thief.
- Stow packages in the trunk before driving to the next store in case you're being watched.
- And never leave you garage-door opener in the car or program your home address into your GPS system under “home” as it could lead thieves straight to your house.
Follow these tips and your biggest problems this holiday season will be bad fruitcake … and worse sweaters.