TV6 Investigates: High number of stolen vehicles reported yearly on Black Friday

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Tis' the holiday season, which means more people are getting their shopping done.

As you hit the stores-- whether it be this Friday or any day -- don't let your gifts or your set of wheels end up completing a thief's wish list.

While Thanksgiving ranks as one of the lowest holidays for vehicle thefts, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), that story changes the next day.

The numbers of reported stolen vehicles are fairly similar from year-to-year when it comes to Black Friday, but NICB says the numbers are still high.

In data provided to TV6, 2,171 stolen vehicles were reported nationwide on Black Friday of 2018.

Compare that number to years past, and you'll see a similarity on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

In 2014, 1,838 vehicles were reported stolen.
In 2015, 2,244 vehicles were reported stolen.
In 2016, 2,262 vehicles were reported stolen.
In 2017, 2,161 vehicles were reported stolen, a number just 10 less than in in 2018.

Davenport Police's Crime Prevention Unit Supervisor, Sergeant Mark Berger says, "You don't want a burglar out there looking inside your vehicle and seeing brand new packages that you have bought for your loved ones and then you become a potential victim."

Berger says there aren't necessarily numbers to support a rise in car-related crimes during the holiday season, or on Black Friday in Davenport, but he says it's important to take the extra step to stay safe and make sure you don't become a victim of car theft or break-ins on any day.

"The one thing to keep in mind is that this is the holidays and when people think of these things, but this is every day and I mean, unfortunately, you need to always make sure you're keeping your doors-- locking your cars," says Berger.

Chad and Manda Robison, who recently had their vehicles broken into in Davenport, agree the message is important--and timely-- to share.

"You don't wanna chance it," says Chad Robison.

The couple had their vehicle broken into early Thursday morning. They say they are always extra cautious about locking their vehicle.

They tell TV6, "We try to make sure our cars are locked but things happen and you wouldn't expect in a quiet neighborhood for people to come around checking cars, but they do."

Manda says she believes she mistakenly unlocked it as she attempted to secure it late Wednesday night.

"Motion light turned on... must not have scared them away. And then we have security cameras. Like we have the footage of the guy breaking in. They checked the Audi and this one and my S-U-V happened to be unlocked," they say.

Sergeant Berger says you should get into the habit of locking your vehicle and if your ride has a FOB, taking it inside with you. He says your vehicle can be stolen even if you have the remote with you.

"It's a bad habit to get into. Don't leave any keys in your vehicle. Not for the house, not for the car. Don't leave a spare key."

Berger says if you don't have time to take your valuables inside after you hit the stores, make sure you hide your purchases in either a trunk or a spot where they can't be seen.

He also recommends people travel in groups on Black Friday, park in well-lit areas, and don't leave expensive valuables in plain sight.

"You never think that it's gonna happen to you or somebody go through your stuff. It's kind of... awkward and violating and scary," says Manda Robison.

For more vehicle safety tips on preventing vehicle-related thefts and break-ins, you can head over to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's site at: https://www.nicb.org/prevent-fraud-theft/prevent-auto-theft