AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Car thieves are using technology to their advantage to gain access to vehicles.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the national rate of car theft rose 1.3 percent in 2012 after declining for eight consecutive years.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), a non-profit organization created by the insurance industry to address insurance-related crime, publishes an annual report called Hot Wheels to identify America’s 10 most stolen vehicles. This year, the NICB introduced a special issue called Hot Wheels Classics, which focuses on a specific model with historical significance.
For its first Classics report, NCIB had chosen to go with the iconic Ford Mustang Pony Car. Although Memphis Raines could never steal the “Eleanor” Shelby Mustang GT500 without engaging in a wild car chase, NCIB’s records reported that thieves have successfully stolen a total of 611,093 Mustangs from 1964 to 2011. While data for each year is available, years prior to 1981 may not be accurate as effective vehicle identification numbers (VIN) protocols were not formalized until 1981, according to NCIB.
Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized VIN in 1981, the NCIB indicated that a total of 411,155 Mustangs have been reported stolen through 2011. The most thefts occurred in 1981 when 20,708 Mustangs were stolen. In 2011, the number of thefts have fallen to 4,347.
From 2001-2011, the past decade indicated that the model year which suffered the most thefts is the year 2000 Mustang at a total of 7,085, followed by the 1995 model year at 6790 thefts, and then the 1998 Mustang at 5394 thefts. All in all, the top 10 most stolen model years concentrated on Mustangs produced from 1989 to 2004. What’s more, the top 10 most stolen model years alone account for nearly 50 percent of all Mustang thefts that have occurred in the past decade.
To help Mustang owners to protect their prized pony cars, NCIB suggests owners to start with a little common sense by locking the car before leaving it on the street. Theft deterrent technologies such as warning devices and immobilizing devices can further improve upon the vehicle’s security. Finally, if a Mustang manages to get stolen anyway, a tracking device will dramatically increase its chances of recovery.
GALLERY: Ford Mustang GT
Top 10 lists of stolen cars are often quite interesting. The fact is, thieves often steal cars for which they can make the most money selling parts from, which probably explains why, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most stolen car in America at present is the 1994 Honda Accord.
From 1997 onwards, Honda started utilizing microchip car keys, making subsequent models of Accord harder to boost. The second most popular car on the NCIB’s top 10 list from last year was of similar vintage and also a Honda, in this case the 1995 Civic. With so many Accords of this generation left on the road, demand for spare parts is high, and thieves can make a pretty penny selling them to chop shops.
Third was the 1991 Toyota Camry, while the 1999 full-size Chevy Silverado pickup and 1997 Ford F-150 rounded out the top five (both new models for those respective years).
It’s also interesting to note that thieves have preferences depending on which part of the country vehicles are stolen; for example, Subaru Legacy wagons are popular targets in places like Maine, Oregon and Vermont, while big SUVs are a frequent choice in Texas. In Michigan, the top 10 list of cars stole consisted entirely of Domestic models. led by the 2000 Dodge Caravan and 1999 Ford Taurus.
U.S. auto thefts may be at their lowest rate in 40 years, but if you’re a resident of Fresno, CA there’s a good chance you’re in disbelief. That’s because Fresno holds the title of the number one city for car thefts.
In a report issues by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Fresno has risen from fifth in the nation last year with a spike in car crime totaling of 7,559 vehicles stolen as compared to 5,875 in 2009. Fresno leads its California neighbor Modesta, which placed second in the NICB study, by a significant margin averaging 812.4 car thefts per 100,000 people.
Third place on the list belongs to yet another California city, Bakersfield. In fact, eight of the top 10 cities for car theft are in the Golden State, with the remaining two also on the West Coast in Washington State.
So far this year vehicle theft rates are down significantly, dropping 7.2 percent over the year before. It that number holds, 2011 will prove to have the lowest vehicle theft rate since 1967.
Hit the jump for a list of the Top 10 Cities for Car theft in 2010:
Forty-four years to be precise. According to statistics released from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of cars stolen in the United States last year fell by some 7.2 percent, resulting in the lowest overall total since 1967.
The major reason for the drop in thefts, according to the NICB, is the proliferation of anti-theft devices, that quite simply, make newer cars harder to steal.
And the trend is being driven by insurance companies too, some like Allstate and State Farm, actually provide discounts to motorists who use anti-theft devices, such as tracking systems and engine immobilizers.
During an interview, NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi, said, ”technology both on the manufacturing end and what comes out of the automakers is a lot better than it was. Even on a baseline (entry-level) vehicle today, it’s hard to steal than it was in 2000.”
Another technique attributed to the fall in car crime are so called ‘Bait Programs,’ whereby police departments leave cars unlocked with the keys in the ignition, in the hope of attracting would-be thieves. In the Dallas area, car thefts declined by some 14.5 percent in 2010 as a result of such programs.
However, although overall statistics maybe down, some regions of the country are still leading the way when it comes to vehicle thefts. California, in particular, boasts some of the highest rates of car crime, particularly the Fresno, Central Valley area, which boasts 7,559 thefts, or 812 per 100,000 people.
Tackling it also remains a problem because, as Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says, ”individuals we arrest for the crime of auto theft are being booked into jail and released, generally the same day. “It is not uncommon for us to arrest the same person for auto theft multiple times in one week.”
Nevertheless, even though overall car thefts are down, motorists still need to take precautions to ensure their vehicle doesn’t end up stolen.
The simplest, the easiest and the most cost-effective is really just to lock the thing,” Scafidi said. “I know that sounds kind of elementary, but there are lots of vehicles that are stolen every year because people make it easy on the thief.”
With so many people falling on hard times in this economy, some folks will do anything to earn a buck. That includes faking a car accident to make ends meet.
According to a recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), questionable claims (QC) resulting from staged accidents have increased 46 percent from 2007 through 2009. On a somewhat positive note, legitimate insurance claims have shrunken a bit, but this is only because there are fewer cars on the road, a by-product of fewer jobs.
What makes this type of crime so popular is that unless someone becomes suspicious, many of these staged accidents go undetected. Along with the fact that it’s a criminal offence and they defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars (which in turn raises the premiums for the rest of us), staged accidents often involve innocent victims who are obeying the law, and can result in serious injury and death.
Florida takes the lead in all states with 3,006 QCs in 2009, with New York following in second with 1,680. Rounding out the top five are California (1,619), Texas (792) and Illinois (433). Out of the top offending cities, New York City leads the way, but Florida comes in strong with three offending cities (Tampa, 562; Miami, 511; and Orlando, 422). Houston closes out the list with 376 QCs.
The NICB has created a series of videos that get the message across by demonstrating some of the most common types of staged accidents. You can watch them at www.nicb.org.
Official release after the jump:
Honda Accord tops list, followed closely by the Civic
A pair of Honda models hold the top two spots in the top ten most stolen vehicles in 2008.
The 1994 Honda Accord was number one while the 1995 Civic came in second on the list compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Hot Wheels 2009 report. The report examined data from the National Crime Information Center to determine the make, model and year of the vehicles most reported stolen across the U.S. in 2008.
All of the top ten stolen vehicles were from 2004 and earlier, with the oldest model, the 1989 Toyota Camry, in third. According to the NICB, older cars and trucks are popular with thieves because their parts are more valuable. Thieves would strip cars down at underground chop shops and sell the parts for at least twice the value of the original vehicle on the used car market. The NICB says newer cars are less attractive to thieves because they have more anti-theft features.
For 2008 the most stolen vehicles were:
1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
5. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
6. 2000 Dodge Caravan
7. 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
8. 1994 Acura Integra
9. 1999 Ford Taurus
10. 2002 Ford Explorer
Overall, vehicle thefts were down 13.1 percent from 2007 figures, according to preliminary findings from the 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report. That would make 2008 the fifth consecutive year that vehicle thefts had decreased. The report is still collecting information but total thefts may total under a million for the first time in 20 years.
“This is great news for vehicle owners, law enforcement and the insurance industry,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and chief executive officer. “It takes years of sustained effort to deliver the kinds of reductions that we are enjoying today. NICB joins with our member companies in acknowledging the great work performed by law enforcement and our investigators in the fight against vehicle theft.
“Comprehensive legislation, aggressive enforcement and rigorous prosecution are the three essential components to a winning crime control program. NICB is proud to contribute to each of those areas through our national legislative affairs program and our network of experienced investigators.”
The NICB urges vehicle owners to follow its “layered approach” to preventing theft:
-Common sense: Lock your car and take the keys with you.
-Warning device: Visible and audible warning devices deter thieves.
-Immobilizing device: Kill switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are effective.
-Tracking device: In the event of a theft, tracking devices send signals that help authorities recover stolen vehicles.
Official release after the jump: