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Posts Tagged ‘car thieves’

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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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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Escalade Tops the List of Late-Model Stolen Cars

Caddy tops list for fourth year.

by on Aug.25, 2011

The Cadillac Escalade EXT tops the lost of stolen vehicles, according to a new report.

Bling, bling…gone.

For the fourth year in a row, the big Cadillac Escalade, a favorite among rappers and professional athletes, tops the list as the car more likely to be stolen, according to a new report by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

The trade group’s data show that four different versions of the Escalade rank high on the list of 2008 to 2010 vehicles thieves targeted, with the Cadillac Escalade EXT, an SUV/pickup blend, ranking at the top of the list.  On average, it experienced 14 claims per 1,000 registered vehicles – eight times higher than the average vehicle covered by the study.  Overall, theft claims for the Escalade resulted in average insurance payouts of $10,555.

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The HLDI study reveals that Detroit brands top the theft charts – and that thieves seem to prefer pickups and SUVs.  In fact, eight of the top 10 are either General Motors or Ford trucks.  The other two slots were filled by Chrysler, with two versions of its big 300 sedan.

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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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Honda Leads List of Most-Stolen Cars

But Detroit models gain popularity with thieves.

by on Aug.03, 2011

The 1994 Honda Accord was the vehicle most often targeted by car thieves last year.

Honda and Toyota products topped the latest list of the cars most frequently targeted by thieves – but Detroit models are becoming increasingly popular, as well, according to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

On the positive side, preliminary FBI data show that car theft is continuing to decline, with the numbers down about 7.2% last year which, if the statistics hold up, would make it the lowest figure since 1967, according to the NICB.

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The 1994 Honda Accord topped the “Hot Wheels” list prepared annually by the Crime Bureau – its third year in a row at the top — followed by the 1995 Honda Civic.  Rounding out the top three was the 1991 Toyota Camry.  But there was only one other import among the Top Ten, the 1994 Acura Integra, which was eighth.  Domestic-made products, including the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado and 2002 Ford Explorer, made up the rest of the list.  It was the first time since 2002 that more Detroit models made the list than import brands.

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10 Worst Neighborhoods for Car Theft

Stay away from Dallas and Las Vegas.

by on Feb.17, 2011

Most of the worst neighborhoods for car theft are out West, with Dallas and Las Vegas among the worst.

Sure, folks are used to losing their shirts along the Strip, in Las Vegas.  But that’s what you risk when you walk into a casino. But you’re also risking your car, it seems.

The neon-hued city has one of the worst neighborhoods in country when it comes to car thefts, reports the website NeighborhoodScout, using insurance industry data.  To be more precise, the most serious problem is located in the Lubertha Johnson Park neighborhood of Las Vegas, where the car theft rate is running 164.76 vehicles per 1,000 – or nearly one in six.

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That compares with a U.S. average of just three per 1,000, which still ends up costing an estimated $5.2 billion a year in owner losses and the checks insurance companies have to write.

As bad as it sounds, however, Las Vegas doesn’t even have the worst neighborhood when it comes to car theft.  That dubious honor goes to the West Commerce Street community in Dallas, where nearly one in four cars are stolen, 223.77 per 1,000, to be precise.

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Car Theft Slows to 20-Year Low

Will it rebound during recession?

by on Oct.19, 2009

No game. It may be fun to steal cars in the popular Grand Theft Auto videogame, but in the real world, thefts have dropped by half since 1991.

It's fun to steal cars in Grand Theft Auto. In the real world, thefts have dropped by half since 1991.

Grand Theft Auto may be one of the most popular video games, but it seems like the real crooks are going into another line of business.  New data show that car thefts continue to tumble – in part due to improved security systems on new vehicles – and have hit a 20-year low.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that just 956,846 motor vehicles were stolen in the U.S. last year.  While that may sound like a lot, that figure compares with the record 1.66 million vehicles stolen in 1991.  And that doesn’t fully reveal the dramatic decline.  There are more people in the U.S. and significantly more cars, trucks and crossovers on the road now, so the 2008 data equal 315 cars for every 100,000 people, down from 659 per 100,000 in 1991.

Experts debate the reasons behind the reduction in car theft.  Some point to new technology, such as ignition immobilizers, which prevent an engine from starting unless you use the correct, digitally-encoded key.  There are several different systems now available to motorists and authorities which help track stolen vehicles, including a new service recently launched by the General Motors subsidiary OnStar.

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Meanwhile, there have been a number of federal, state and local programs created to both prevent car thefts or at least catch the perpetrators, including HEAT, short for Help Eliminate Auto Thefts.  And in many jurisdictions, the courts have become tougher on thieves who, in decades past, may have been able to avoid jail time.

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