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FBI Says Car Theft Down, But So Are Recoveries

Posted in auto industry, Cars, Newsworthy, Police, Safety by Kurt Ernst | September 18th, 2010 | 4 Responses |

Amateur car theft is down. That's the bad news.

Want some good news? For 2009, the FBI reports a 17% decline in auto thefts compared to 2008. In fact, reported auto thefts in 2009 were at their lowest level in 20 years, with just 794,616 cars reported stolen across the United States. For insurance companies and car owners, the net cost for all those vehicles stolen was roughly $5 billion, or $6,505 per vehicle.

Now for the bad news: the recovery rate for stolen vehicles has also dropped, falling to just 42%. This represents the lowest recovery rate in twenty five years, and indicates that most vehicle thefts are now the work of professionals. Car thieves generally “shop by order”, and target specific makes and models for their export or parts value. Anti-theft measures like ignition immobilizers and car alarms have little effect, since the pros generally tow or flatbed the vehicles they steal. As we told you here, their favorite target is the Cadillac Escalade, but full sized pickups are also high on thieves lists.

If a pro wants what you drive, it’s probably just a matter of time before it gets snatched. Common sense goes a long way in preventing amateur car theft, so always lock your car (with the windows up) whenever you leave it unattended. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but a running car is an open invitation for amateur theft; no matter how hot (or cold) it is outside, turn off the ignition and take the keys with you, even if you’re only gone for a few seconds. Finally, if you really love your car and want to keep it forever, Lojack is far better than any alarm system at aiding in recovery.

Source: Consumer Reports, via Autoblog

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4 Responses

  1. […] last week we told you that car theft in America is declining. The bad news, though, is that recovery of stolen cars is also declining, so unless you’ve got a […]

  2. Michael Wilkinson says:

    Hi,just wondered how you came by the photo of the car thieves Sept 18 2010 by Kurt Emst.
    Its one I took here in the UK in August 2010 and just now Im arguing with an agency that owes me some cash for syndicating it.
    Dont worry,Im not jumping up and down,just after the fee I should get from the UK newspapers for carrying the story and photos.
    Im not bothered by your use,its good that the thieves face are is shown to the world

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Michael, sorry for posting your image without credit. I wrote the story back in September and pulled the image from a Google search. Unfortunately, there was no photographer credit associated with it and I don’t recall which website it was hosted on. The image was titled “Car Theft in Ketl” if this helps.

      I have credited you for the image and will pull it from the story if you prefer.