The NICB Releases 2017 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report

Vehicle theft

Albuquerque, New Mexico, retains the top spot for auto thefts in the nation. That’s according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2017 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report. Five California cities make the top ten list, while Texas is left off entirely (but it doesn’t fare so well when it comes to tailgate thefts).

Just like last year, Albuquerque has the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2017.  That rating is based on the entire county Albuquerque sits in, not just the city itself.

Two cities are making their appearance on the list for the first time:  St. Joseph and Springfield, Missouri. How’d they get on it and not, say, LA? Well, researchers say areas 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 bigger theft problem and a larger population to absorb it. That’s how St. Joseph, with 952 thefts, places 5th while Los Angeles, with 60,444 thefts places 33rd.

For 2017, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were: (thefts in parentheses)

2017 Ranking (2016 Ranking)

  1. Albuquerque, N.M. (9,989) 1 (10,011)
  2. Anchorage, Alaska (3,274) 6 (2,273)
  3. Pueblo, Colo. (1,353) 2 (1,325)
  4. Redding, Calif. (1,352) 20 (1,011)
  5. St. Joseph, Mo. (952) 28 (651)
  6. Bakersfield, Calif. (6,560) 3 (7,176)
  7. Modesto, Calif. (3,870) 4 (3,820)
  8. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,575) 12 (4,075)
  9. Yuba City, Calif. (1,050) 30 (860)
  10. Springfield, Mo. (2,686) 33 (2,142)

Vehicle Theft Is Down 54% Since 1991

Big picture, while thefts are up 4.1 percent in 2017, overall, vehicle theft is down across the nation.  Check out this comparison:

  • In 1991, the historic peak year for vehicle theft,  there were 1,661,738 reported thefts.
  • In 2016, the total was 765,484.

That’s down 54 percent. 

Vehicle Theft with Keys

Many drivers are making the job easier for thieves by leaving their keys in the car.  In October 2016, the NICB reported that for the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left in them. 57,096 in 2015 alone.

Tailgate Theft

Texas may not be on the top ten Hot Spot lift when it comes to overall thefts, but it doesn’t get off so easy when it comes tailgate theft.  Earlier this year, the NICB reported that the top five cities for tailgate thefts – in 2016 and 2017 combined – were Houston (277); Dallas (242); San Antonio (196); Los Angeles (97); and Fresno, Calif. (79).

Protecting Your Vehicle

Common Sense: Use common sense when it comes to protecting your car from theft. Don’t leave your keys in the ignition. Lock your door and close your windows. Park in a well-lit area.

Warning Device: Use a visible or audible anti-theft device like one of the following:

  • 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
  • Microdot marking

Immobilizing Device: Use 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: Install a tracking device on your car. It will submit a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. They are helping in recovering stolen vehicles.  

Photo Credit:  plantic/Shutterstock



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