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3 Places in America Where Car Thefts Are Booming

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Vehicle thefts continued to climb higher in 2023, continuing an unhappy, multi-year trend, according to a new analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Nationwide, thefts topped a record-breaking 1.02 million in 2023, up 1% over the previous year.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and until now, crimes related to vehicles — from car thefts to stolen catalytic converters and carjackings — have surged. Vehicle thefts have now increased every year since 2019.

In a summary of the analysis, David Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB, says:

“Criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to steal vehicles, including the use of advanced technology to bypass security systems. From keyless entry hacks to relay attacks on key fobs, perpetrators are exploiting vulnerabilities in modern vehicle security measures with alarming success rates.”

Of the top 10 core-based statistical areas by vehicle theft volume, three metros saw these crimes rise significantly. The regions around Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Philadelphia all saw car thefts climb by at least 19%.

Here was the change in car thefts from 2022 to 2023 in the top 10 core-based statistical areas by vehicle theft volume:

  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 52% increase
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA: 28%
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 19%
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 13%
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 9%
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: 7%
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: 6%
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: 2%
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 0.5% decrease
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: 22% decrease

To keep your vehicle safe, the NICB recommends you use common sense. This includes such simple measures as:

  • Parking in well-lit areas
  • Locking doors and windows when parking
  • Hiding valuables in a glove compartment or trunk
  • Avoiding leaving the keys in your vehicle
  • Never leaving your car unattended when it is running
  • Reporting a stolen vehicle promptly, when the odds of recovering the car are highest

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