Last week we shared the National Insurance Crime Bureau's "Hot Spots" theft report which indicates that auto theft continues to skyrocket nationwide, with Colorado experiencing the most vehicle thefts, followed by Washington, D.C. and California. This week we have even more analysis from the NICB on the rise of vehicle and catalytic converter thefts along with carjackings since the start of the pandemic.
The NICB, the insurance industry's association dedicated to predicting, preventing, and prosecuting insurance crime, says nearly half a million vehicles were stolen in the first half of 2022 (as of June 30th.) Put a dollar amount on it and researchers say those thefts equate to an estimated $4.5 billion worth of vehicle losses from thefts. It's also a 25% increase over the thefts reported in the first half of 2019.
All this and the year's not over yet. The NICB estimates 100,000 more vehicles will have been stolen by the end of 2022 in comparison to pre-pandemic totals.
“There is very little deterrent to stopping these criminals because vehicle thefts are property crimes,” said David Glawe, President and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Since the start of the pandemic, used car prices have increased 35 to 40 percent. Criminals are exploiting these high prices as vehicle and catalytic converter thefts are crimes of opportunity. And crime is a business, and business is good.”
According to NICB, the U.S. is seeing the highest vehicle theft numbers since 2008. Some cities with the largest increases between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2022 include:
- Denver, CO: 155% increase
- Philadelphia, PA: 106% increase
- Austin, TX: 64% increase
Catalytic Converter Thefts, Carjackings
Separately, catalytic converter thefts are up1,215% nationwide since 2019, and carjackings have climbed an alarming 160% to over 500% in some major cities since 2019.
“To stop this lawlessness, we must focus our attention on these criminals and take back our streets,” Glawe said. “We must re-invest in our law enforcement.”
Earlier this year, Glawe testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and offered six policy recommendations to help address the staggering crime statistics:
- increasing community policing programs
- revisiting well-intentioned criminal justice reform policies
- enforcing the laws as written
- focusing attention on violent offenders
- collecting national and state data on carjackings
- identifying and implementing successful early intervention programs
The NICB says President Biden recently adopted many of its recommendations by way of Executive Order,
Theft Prevention Tips
If you're looking for ways to prevent car theft, the NICB has some tips to consider:
- Always practice good security hygiene.
- Make sure your auto policy is up to date.
- Roll up your windows, lock your doors, and take the keys or fob.
- Park in well-lit areas and, when possible, areas staffed by security
- Park personal vehicles in a garage. If not possible, and vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, it may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
If your vehicle is stolen, the NICB says you should call law enforcement, along with your insurer right away. If you report a theft immediately, the vehicle is most likely to be recovered.
Photo Credit: Fractal Pictures/Shutterstock.com.