Every 43 seconds, a car is stolen in the United States, which is close to a million vehicles per year.

Former car thief Steve Fuller was himself convicted six times for stealing cars. Hundreds of other times, Fuller said, he was able to successfully get away with it.

"I stole cars because I was on drugs, and I needed the money," Fuller told ABC News' "20/20." But once he kicked the habit, he kicked the crime too.

So now, in an effort to try to make up for some of the damage he did, Fuller agreed to give up the "trade secrets," what car thieves know that we don't. His tips could deter thieves and keep your car safe.

While some advice might seem obvious, such as not leaving your car running with the keys in the ignition, Fuller revealed what most car owners don't know, but car thieves do. By knowing what car owners don't, thieves can often boost a car in less than 10 seconds.

Check out these seven tips that could mean the difference between holding onto your car and having to walk everywhere.

Car Thieves Dislike 5 Things: Daytime, Kill Switches, Alarms, Nosy Neighbors and Security Cameras

Being quick and inconspicuous is necessary when stealing a car. That's why car thieves avoid things that may call attention to themselves.

This means stealing cars at a certain time. Fuller said he preferred to come back between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., because most people are asleep. "It's nice and quiet, less distractions, less people walking around," he said.

Having a kill switch in your car can also deter thieves. Kill switches disrupt the flow of electricity at the battery or ignition or disable the fuel pump. If well hidden, kill switches may take a while to deactivate and can deter car thieves who don't want to waste time and will move on to another car.

Good alarms with motion sensors, nosy neighbors, and security cameras also deter car thieves, who will simply go to other areas where they can avoid those certain things.

There Might Be a Key Inside Your Car You Don't Know About

"Well, there are some vehicles that have valet keys... and a lot of people don't know that they have a valet key inside their vehicle," Fuller explained.

Valet keys usually can unlock the driver's side door and start the car, but can't unlock the trunk or the glove box. This key is normally used when someone else operates your vehicle, such as a valet parking attendant. For example, Fuller said the valet key might be found inside the owner's manual. In some BMW models, the valet key is usually in the car's tool kit in the trunk.

While most people don't know they have a valet key, car thieves do, and they use them to easily steal and drive away with a car.

Crime Statistics

Cars get stolen every day – every 33 seconds in fact – in virtually every city and town in America. Make sure your vehicle is protected. Start by arming yourself with facts about auto theft and vandalism.

Nationwide in 2013, there were nearly one million motor vehicle thefts.

Areas with the Most Vehicles Stolen

Region# Stolen*
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 50,671
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area 33,267
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area 29,135
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 23,223
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 21,173
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 20,460
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area 19,641
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 19,405
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 19,065
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 18,575



 Property losses due to motor vehicle theft in 2013 were estimated at $7.9 billion, averaging $6,649/vehicle.

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in Miami -Fort Lauderadale -Homestead.

 For 2013, the most stolen vehicles* in the Miami were:

  1. Honda S2000
  2. Honda Civic / Accord
  3. Ford Pickup (Full Size)
  4. Toyota Camry
  5. Ford F250 / F350  tailgate theft 
  6. Acura Integra
  7. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
  8. Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
  9. Ford Explorer
  10. Nissan Sentra