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Posts Tagged ‘car theft’

Car Thefts Plunge By More than Half

Better technology, increased enforcement keep thieves at bay.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Car thefts surged in the 1970s and '80s, but the numbers have been falling since 1991's peak.

There may be far more cars on the road, but car theft has plunged 58% since 1991’s all-time high, according to newly released FBI data.

Increased law enforcement and enhanced automotive technology have combined to make it tougher on car thieves, though nearly 700,000 vehicles were still snatched in the U.S. last year.

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Nonetheless, “It means that if you own a vehicle, your chances of having it stolen today are statistically and significantly less than at any other time since 1960,” according to a new analysis of the FBI data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB.

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A Dozen Ways to Keep Your Car from Being Stolen

Don’t become a statistic during National Vehicle Theft Protection Month.

by on Jul.25, 2014

A car is stolen every 44 seconds in the U.S., but there steps owners to can take to lower the odds.

Despite a nationwide crackdown, car theft remains a major problem, and according to government statistics, a vehicle is stolen in the U.S. about every 44 seconds. As the title of a recent movie suggested, a thief may need as little as 60 seconds to break in and then drive off with your car.

But you don’t have to become an unhappy part of those statistics. Driver error is responsible for as much as 50% of vehicle theft, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some common sense steps can reduce the odds of having your vehicle stolen – while you can also improve the odds of recovering your car, truck or crossover if it is snatched.

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The simplest step is to always remember to lock your car – and then take the key. Even with today’s remote keyless entry systems, a surprising number of motorists still don’t bother to close their windows and lock their vehicles up. Many people will even leave their keys in a cupholder or even in the ignition. You might as well put a sign on the windshield, “Steal Me.” (more…)

Honda Accord is America’s Most Stolen Vehicle

Honda Civic second in annual “Hot Wheels” report.

by on Aug.21, 2013

The 1996 Honda Accord was the single most frequently stolen vehicle in America during 2012.

The Honda Civic was the nation’s most frequently stolen vehicle, while the maker’s Civic model came in second on the annual Hot Wheels report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The trade group revised the latest version of its study, no longer focusing on individual model-years but combing all years of a particular make and model. The NICB now also lists the top new vehicles that were stolen in 2012.

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The latest Hot Wheels study coincides with what appears to be a reversal of an eight-year downward trend in car thefts. The NICB expects thefts to rise by about 1.3% in 2013.

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Ford F-250 Becomes Car Thieves’ Favorite Target

GM pickups, SUVs nab eight of top 10 spots in annual theft list.

by on Jul.09, 2013

The country's most popular vehicle, at least among car thieves: the Ford F-250.

The big Ford F-250 pickup has become the favorite of U.S. car thieves, according to a new report, replacing the Cadillac Escalade, the luxury SUV that had topped the theft chart for nearly a decade.

But the big Caddy fell to only sixth place in the annual survey by the Highway Loss Data Institute, and the HLDI found that Cadillac’s parent General Motors still had eight of the top 10 spots in terms of theft claims.

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Pickups, in particular, proved extremely popular with thieves during the 2010 to 2012 timeframe covered by the new study, accounting for the first five vehicles on the list.  Following the four-wheel-drive crew cab version of the F-250 were: (more…)

Car Thieves Offer a Reprieve on Xmas – But Watch Out New Year’s Eve

Holiday season presents big risks for motorists.

by on Dec.19, 2012

Happy New Year?

The holidays may be a time to spread joy, but be careful you don’t let a car thief sour your good cheer.

A new study ranks the final week of the year as one of the riskiest when it comes to getting your car stolen – though the good news is that even the bad guys seem to take a break on Christmas day.

Among 11 major holidays (okay, an even dozen if you include Groundhog Day), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICD) reveals Christmas landed last in terms of the total number of vehicles stolen in the U.S. in 2011, at 1,347.  In fact, Christmas had the lowest rate of car theft of any day in 2011, holiday or not.  Groundhog Day, at 1,491, was second-lowest.

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Apparently, all those tricksters were helping themselves to some expensive treats on Halloween, which ranked number one on the list with 2,328 vehicles stolen.

Close behind, however, was New Year’s Day, at 2,286, followed by Memorial Day, at 2,005, and Labor Day, at 1,977.

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Honda Accord Tops Most-Stolen List

Top 10 list evenly divided between U.S., Asian makers.

by on Aug.21, 2012

Yet again, the 1994 Honda Accord tops the list of most-stolen vehicles, according to a new study.

This is one list you’d probably prefer not to see your car wind up on, but if you own a 1994 Honda Accord it is the vehicle thieves are most likely to target, according to a new study released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The good news is that car theft, in general, has been declining in recent years – though there are some nagging hot spots, especially along the West Coast.  But the NICB’s annual Hot Wheels study shows that thieves are particular about what they go after, whether there’s strong demand for a particular model or they’re just easier to get away with.

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Honda, it turns out, has the two most frequently stolen models, both the ’94 Accord and the ’98 Civic.  The full list follows.  It reveals that Japanese makers built half of the Top 10 models, Detroit the other five.  The list also is fairly evenly split between passenger cars, such as the Accord, and light trucks, including the 2006 Ford F-Series pickup and 2000 Dodge Caravan minivan.

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Auto Theft Rate Continues to Decline

But problem remains serious in parts of the West.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Car theft fall sharply in 2011 - though there remain major "hot spots" along the West Coast.

Despite high-profile cases, like the recent carjacking of Detroit pastor and gospel icon Marvin Winans, a nationwide crackdown on car theft is generating clear and positive results.

Two new reports suggest that auto theft rates fell once again in 2011, though there are some nagging hot spots that seem to be resisting the crackdown, especially along the West Coast.

Meanwhile, a recent study suggests that certain vehicles remain fair game for thieves, including the Chevrolet Corvette.  According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than one in 10 Vettes has been heisted over the past 30 years.

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The NICB, an insurance industry trade group, says the general trend is downward, with the majority of major metropolitan areas having seen a decline in overall car theft during 2011.  Some communities, like Laredo, Texas, have seen significant declines.

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Car Theft Ring Forces Luxury Auto Rental Firm to Shut Down

HiGear let wannabes drive the cars of their dreams.

by on Jan.05, 2012

A Tesla listed for rent on the HiGear website.

The idea seemed to have enormous potential: give automotive wannabes the opportunity to drive the cars of their dreams.  Unfortunately for San Francisco-based start-up HiGear, the company also gave a bunch of car thieves to steal the cars of their dreams.

The company offered a distinctive twist on the growing car-sharing phenomenon.  While most of the other players in the emerging field, such as ZipCar, focus on basic transportation, HiGear went to the other extreme, lining up luxury and exotic models from the likes of Aston Martin, BMW, Bentley and even a Tesla.

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After going through a seemingly careful sign-up process members of the service would pay anywhere from $125 to $600 – with the average being $410 a day, according to company officials – plus insurance.  The vehicles they would rent were actually owned by individuals, including co-founder Murtaza Hussein’s BMW Z4, rather than company-owned.

Unfortunately for HiGear, a sophisticated car theft ring figured out how to game the system, using stolen identities and credit cards to line up rentals and then make off with four cars the company says were worth $400,000.

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Audi, Ford, BMW Models Top Stolen List

Overall auto theft rate continues to dip.

by on Nov.08, 2011

Percentage wise, the most stolen car of 2009, the Audi S8.

You have your choice of good news or bad.  When it comes to stolen cars, the good news is that the auto theft rate continues to decline, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The bad news?  That might depend on what you own, especially if you park an Audi, Ford or BMW model in your driveway.

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The top of the list is the Audi S8 which had a theft rate, according to NHTSA, of 8.81 per thousand in 2009 – the latest year for which data is available.  But the fed report is based on percentages, not raw numbers.  Audi only sold 227 of the S8s in the U.S. that year, and a grand total of 2 were stolen.

Using more conventional math reveals an entirely different picture, however, with more mainstream models like the Toyota Corolla, at the top of the list.

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Hackers Use Smartphone to Steal Subaru Outback

With more tech onboard are cars becoming easy prey?

by on Aug.09, 2011

Hackers break into a Subaru Outback using nothing but a smartphone.

Today’s cars are loaded with digital technology, from the engine controllers that maximize mileage while reducing emissions, to their increasingly popular multi-function infotainment systems.  But have these silicon-based devices also made our cars increasingly vulnerable to high-tech thieves?

That’s the chilling message delivered by two researchers who appeared at the Black Hat Conference, an annual gathering of hackers and security pros in Las Vegas, this last week.  Using nothing but an Android smartphone and some creative programming, they were able to not only unlock a Subaru Outback but start up its engine.

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“I could care less if I could unlock a car door. It’s cool. It’s sexy,” Don Bailey, a senior security consultant with iSEC Partners and one of the pros who hacked the car, told CNN. “But the same system is used to control phone, power, traffic systems. I think that’s the real threat.”

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