GREENSBORO, N.C. — Motor vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for most of us, and often, an indispensable part of our lives. 

But, what would happen if yours suddenly disappeared? 

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vehicle is stolen every 41 seconds in the U.S. 

To make matters worse, statistics show, thieves can strip a vehicle of parts 30 minutes or less. 

Vehicle theft is a very expensive crime.

The latest U.S. Department of Transportation report shows there were an estimated 773,139 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2017.

Nearly $6 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2017.

According to the latest crime report from the Greensboro Police Department, auto theft is on the rise.

Greensboro police have already investigated 442 auto thefts so far in 2019 compared to 320 car thefts last year.   

Since the summer is a prime time for car thieves, the NHTSA designated July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month.

It's all about raising awareness and putting a stop to car thieves.

State and local law enforcement agencies want you to take several common-sense steps to prevent your vehicle from becoming a statistic.

The NHTSA offers the following tips to protect your vehicle: 

  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. 
  • Park in well-lit areas. 
  • Never leave your vehicle while it's running. 
  • Never leave keys or valuables in your vehicle.