CARTHEFTKENTUCKY (2/15/14) — Automotive break-ins and thefts are something no driver wants to experience. They can leave a person feeling violated, and the hassle of replacing the vehicle and the contents inside the car can bring additional stress.

Statistics indicate that a vehicle is stolen in the United States roughly every 28 seconds. Roughly one million cars are reported stolen each year. According to Statistics Canada, about 100,000 cars are stolen on average each year in that country. Although there are many precautions to help safeguard against car theft, being particularly vigilant during certain holidays might be the best preventive measure a driver can take.

According to analysis of National Crime Information Center vehicle-theft data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, car thefts are more likely to occur during certain holidays. The Bureau reports that, between 2010 to 2011, the most recent span of time for which data is available, there were 20,800 U.S. car thefts during the 11 holidays studied. So on which holiday is your car most likely to be stolen? Here are the holidays as ranked by the number of thefts reported in 2011.

11. Christmas Day: Thieves may be more interested in opening presents under the tree than venturing out in the cold to steal a car or truck. This holiday ranks the lowest among the major holidays.

10. Thanksgiving: While the turkey and trimmings were being set on the dinner table, 1,526 vehicles were being stolen in 2011.

9. Christmas Eve: Those who are engaging in some last-minute shopping at the mall or visiting friends and family for a cup of eggnog may want to be cautious as to where they park their cars.

8. President's Day: Even Honest Abe cannot prevent would-be thieves from making off with a car on this holiday.

7. Independence Day: Perhaps the fireworks and the revelry of July 4th help to mask the steps needed to steal a car. In 2011, 1,862 vehicles were stolen amid the "rocket's red glare."

6. Valentine's Day: While couples are dining at favorite restaurants or cuddling up on the couch with a movie playing, a car thief may be making off with a stolen car.

5. New Year's Eve: So many people are caught up in the moment of toasting the new year that they may not realize a thief is making his or her own resolution to steal a car or truck.

4. Labor Day: The unofficial end to summer is also a prime time for vehicle thefts. There were 1,947 car thefts reported in 2011.

3. Memorial Day: The unofficial start to the summer entertaining season is also a prime time for car thefts.

2. New Year's Day: While individuals were sleeping off the remnants of their midnight partying, 2,288 vehicles were being stolen on January 1, 2011.

1. Halloween: Although not an "official" holiday, Halloween is the holiday when the most number of vehicles are stolen. The trick is on the person who comes home to find not only is the trick-or-treat candy missing, but also the family car.

Being aware of these prime car-stealing dates can help drivers protect their valuable assets. In addition, it is advised to always park in well-lit areas, keep belongings out of view, make sure the vehicle is always locked when it is parked -- even if it's in the driveway, invest in an alarm or vehicle immobilization system, and to be extra careful if your car driven is one of the most-stolen makes and models.

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