RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Richmond Police Department announced a multi-agency collaboration to help reduce vehicle theft in Central Virginia through an awareness campaign.

This partnership was announced on June 28 by RPD and includes two main agencies joining forces with the department: Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance and the Virginia State Police with its Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program.

Other agencies partnered with these three include Chesterfield County Police, Hanover County Police, Henrico County Police, Hopewell Police, New Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Petersburg Police Department, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Drive Smart Virginia.

The united message behind the campaign is “Love my Ride,” which the agencies hope will encourage Virginians to take easy steps to protect themselves from their vehicles being stolen while also being reminded about the insurance implications of such thefts.

Action will ramp up in July as the campaign coincides with National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. Vehicle etching events will be offered where residents can have their vehicle identification number etched on their vehicle window.

“The most effective anti-theft tool is to lock your car and take your keys,” Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said. “It’s common sense, but not common practice. Doing our part to prevent vehicle theft is an action we can all take for the safety of everyone in our community.”

Richmond police provided these suggestions to help decrease the likelihood of car theft:

  • Lock your car and take the keys every time. Make the decision to double-check that you have your keys as you walk away from the vehicle.
  • Do not leave your car running and unattended. While you may think it’s convenient, it only takes a thief a few seconds to steal your car. 
  • Remove valuables from inside your car. Leaving cell phones, firearms, wallets, laptops, or other valuables in the car attracts thieves. 
  • Park in a well-lit area or in a garage.