VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Police officers handed out 200 free steering wheel clubs on Saturday morning.
The department held two clinics to hand out the clubs. They hoped to reach those who've had cars stolen in the past, had someone attempt to steal their car, or owners of commonly stolen vehicles like Hondas and Toyotas.
Over the past 18 months or so, Vancouver police said they've seen a large spike in auto thefts. The clinic on Saturday morning was just one way to help drivers fight back.
A search on crimereports.com showed more than 500 car thefts in the past six months.
Police said not only are thefts on the rise, but the reason people steal cars is changing as well.
"Back in the day, cars used to be stolen and stripped," said Vancouver Police Department Corporal James Burgara.
"Not so much anymore. People are taking them, using them for transportation and then dumping them. Or some people are taking them and just living in them, squatting in them and then leaving them."