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Vehicle Thefts Post Sixth Straight Yearly Decline

Latest “Hot Wheels” list shows largest annual drop in decades.

by on Sep.21, 2010

Keeping the chop shops in business are older, but popular models.

The FBI’s just-released 2009 Uniform Crime Report shows that vehicle theft is once again down significantly in 2009, the sixth consecutive year of reductions.  In 2008, 956,846 vehicles were reported stolen – the lowest annual total in more than 20 years. For 2009 the thefts are lower at 794,616.

Using this FBI data, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has just released its list of the Top Ten stolen vehicles in the United States by make, model, and year.  Honda Accord and Civic, Toyota Camry and the Ford F-150 head the list.

Unlike other theft reports, this one covers all vehicles, not just insured ones. That’s a significant difference in the data base since newer, more expensive and insured vehicles are often stolen to be resold with counterfeit vehicle identification numbers or shipped out of the country across our porous borders.  (See Vehicles Thieves Love to See – and Take) Older cars are often chopped up for parts, leaving their less affluent owners out of luck.

“Through the end of August this year there were 97,655 vehicles that were listed as stolen and not yet recovered,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “Of that number, only 38% had some kind of insurance coverage. So there are a lot of vehicles out there that are being stolen and the owner is left holding the bag with no car and no money to buy another one.


The Bulgarian Glass Caper

Industrial espionage at Ford is not new news.

by on Oct.25, 2009

So it came about that the FBI was watching over the movements of employees...

So it came about that the FBI was watching over the movements of employees...

The recent reports of a Chinese industrial spy stealing data from Ford Motor Company for his homeland and a cabal of Koreans doing the same to General Motors for the Russians remind me of a funny story from several decades back — the first time I ever heard of serious international commercial spying.

Beginning in the 1920s, Ford manufactured much of its own glass for vehicle windows, starting with a glass plant in Dearborn’s Rouge, once identified as the world’s largest industrial complex.

In the post-World War II years, Ford expanded its glass operations by opening additional plants in Nashville, Tulsa and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Further, Pilkington Glass of England licensed Ford to use its highly efficient (and secret) manufacturing process called Float Glass.

In those Cold War years, Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain were assumed to be taking their orders from Moscow for whatever transpired in international commerce.  The Western countries had diplomatic relations with the Soviet empire, but both sides kept close eyes on the other.

Chrystal Clear!

Crystal Clear!

So it came about that the FBI was watching over the movements of employees of the Washington embassies of Iron Curtain countries. A supposed commercial attaché from the Bulgarian Embassy traveled to Detroit where he met with an immigrant Turkish employee of Ford Motor Company.