Once again, the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) and LoJack Corporation (NASDAQ: LOJN) will team up to promote National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. Throughout July, which is the top month of the year for vehicle theft, IAATI and LoJack will collaborate on a number of national educational initiatives to raise public awareness of the issues and criminal behaviors around auto theft. Activities will include a national campaign featuring a series of public service announcements for major market radio stations, as well as an innovative social media program that will feature a number of online videos and infographics detailing new auto theft data and trends. This content will be distributed across major social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
“By engaging consumers with informative and creative content, we hope to increase awareness around auto theft, which continues to be a significant problem throughout the United States,” said Christopher McDonold, member and past President of IAATI. “It is our goal to provide vehicle owners with tips and information that will help protect themselves, as well as their personal assets. This year, we are engaging drivers across multiple platforms, which we believe will increase our audience and therefore broaden the reach and more importantly the impact of our message.”
National Vehicle Theft Protection Month brings an important opportunity to evaluate the available data around vehicle theft and to address vehicle and driver safety. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January-June 2012” (the latest timeframe for which statistics are available), the number of auto theft crimes reported by law enforcement for the first six months of 2012 increased over figures from the same period in 2011.
This data shows that Americans should further embrace their shared responsibility in protecting their vehicles, especially during the months of July and August – the top months for auto theft. To help drivers better understand how difficult it is to recover a stolen vehicle without a tracking device, LoJack and IAATI offer the following insight into how vehicles are stolen today and what happens after a vehicle is stolen:
- It’s Not a Kid Joyriding Anymore – Many of today’s car thieves are seasoned criminals whose main occupation is to make a profit out of stealing vehicles.
- No Passport Needed – Professional car thieves are often linked to large international crime rings that are more than happy to drive or export their “new” car outside of the U.S. and sell them to unsuspecting customers.
- Exportation Strategy – LoJack and IAATI are seeing an increase in cars being stolen and taken to U.S. ports. Criminals are loading and hiding vehicles in containers to ship overseas.
- Sum of its Parts – Many vehicles stolen by professional thieves are taken to “chop shops,” where they are dismantled and then sold off as parts. Stolen auto parts account for millions of dollars a year in profits for criminals.
- Older Cars Get Stolen Too – Criminals also look for older vehicles that can be stolen and stripped for its parts, which can then be sold – piece by piece – to any local salvage yard or online.
“This month – like every month – LoJack and IAATI are laser focused on educating every innocent driver about the importance of vehicle safety, which includes protecting your ‘family fleet’ from criminals and encouraging better, safer driving practices to decrease accidents on the road,” said Randy J. Ortiz, President and CEO of LoJack Corporation. “IAATI is comprised of some of the most experienced law enforcement officers in the world and we consider our relationship with them invaluable. We rely heavily on our relationship with IAATI to help identify auto theft trends to better protect our customers.”