Stearns County had seen a rise in snowmobile theft during the winter months. Photo courtesy Nate Johnston
Article written by Nolan Newberg
Snowmobiling is a recreational activity that is greatly increasing in popularity. In this past year alone, there was a 16.1% increase in snowmobile sales with over 55,000 units sold in the sales season. Diving deeper into the reasoning why snowmobiling has been so successful in recent years, we find one area that stands out, the Midwest.
The Midwest is the biggest contributor to the success of snowmobiling in the United States. According to the International Snowmobile Association there are 616,990 registered snowmobiles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan collectively. These three states account for over 45% of registered snowmobiles which emphasizes how crucial the Midwest is to the success of snowmobiling.
While the Midwest brings so much to recreational activity, theft for snowmobiles in these three states is substantial in comparison to the others. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NIBC) reported these three states to take up 41% of the total thefts in the United States from 2015-2017. This statistic emphasizes the importance of keeping your snowmobile in a safe place, especially in the Midwest.
So, what are the best ways to prevent your snowmobile from being stolen? Below are four things you must consider when owning a snowmobile.
- NEVER leave the keys in ignition. This is something that seems so simple, yet often is forgotten about. It is easy to leave your keys in the ignition, or somewhere near the snowmobile due to the convenience of them being near your vehicle. Sadly, this makes your snowmobile more prone to be stolen. If you are in this habit, try to break it IMMEDIATELY and start placing them in a secure location that only you know about.
2. Keep your snowmobile in a secure area. Having cluttered space is something most people experience, but that shouldn’t give you the green light to keep your snowmobile outside. Try to find a shed, a garage, or some other enclosed area to store your snowmobile. If this is not a possibility for you, try to place your snowmobile in a lit area as close as possible to your house.
3. Protect documents pertaining to your snowmobile. Registration, driver’s license, insurance, and trail permits are some important documents you don’t want to leave inside the vehicle. Placing these documents elsewhere helps keep them out of the hands of a thief. The last thing you would want is the person stealing the snowmobile to obtain the ownership documents of your vehicle.
4. Invest in a GPS. Investing in a GPS can be extremely beneficial in recovering your stolen vehicle. Certain GPS devices have tracking which helps the recovery of your snowmobile if it was stolen. GPS tracking allows for real-time tracking which helps locate the vehicle at a given time. In fact, more than 40% of stolen snowmobiles would have been located if equipped with GPS tracking according to the NICB.
Snowmobile theft will be an ongoing issue as popularity continues to rise. Therefore, understanding the issue at hand and having anti-theft measures in mind is so important. Make sure to keep these four tips in mind before paying the consequences of a stolen snowmobile.