See What “Hot” Cars are Popular with Thieves

By  USDR

California’s San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the nation’s highest per capita vehicle theft rate in 2014, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots  report.

NICB’s Hot Spots report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, the Bakersfield, Calif., MSA includes all thefts within the entire county of Kern, not just the city of  Bakersfield.

Moreover, as a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb  it.

For 2014, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were: (thefts in  parentheses)

            2014 Ranking                                                                                                2013 Ranking

1.      San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.       (29,093)                                      4          (29,326)

2.      Bakersfield, Calif.           (5,211)                                                                        1          (6,267)

3.      Stockton-Lodi, Calif.      (4,245)                                                                         5          (4,245)

4.      Odessa, Texas              (886)                                                                           12        (764)

5.      Modesto, Calif.              (3,047)                                                                         3          (3,565)

6.      Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.       (3,032)                                                   7          (3,205)

7.      Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.                        (2,414)                                                    8          (2,540)

8.      Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.       (20,268)                                                 13        (18,128)

9.      Fresno, Calif.                                      (5,260)                                                    2          (6,750)

10.    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.        (10,531)                                      9          (10,925)

Although vehicle thefts are down dramatically around the nation, the reasons they are stolen remain the same. Older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, high-end vehicles often are shipped overseas or, after some disguising, sold to an innocent buyer  locally.

Others, meanwhile, are still taken for the oldest of motivations—a “joyride” and when the thrill is gone, it is abandoned  undamaged.

The full Hot Spots report is available at  www.nicb.org.

NICB recommends that drivers follow our four “layers of protection” to guard against vehicle  theft:

Common Sense — The common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should  always:

  • Remove your keys from the ignition
  • Lock your doors /close your windows
  • Park in a well-lit area

Warning Device — The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices  include:

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering column collars
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
  • Brake locks
  • Wheel locks
  • Theft deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle
  • VIN etching
  • Micro dot marking

Immobilizing Device — The third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples  are:

  • Smart keys
  • Fuse cut-offs
  • Kill switches
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
  • Wireless ignition authentication

Tracking Device — The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via  computer.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips appon your iPhone or Android  device.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Head-quartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit  www.nicb.org.

SOURCE National Insurance Crime  Bureau

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.