The State of Auto Theft
Recent FBI statistics confirm what you probably already knew: nationally, auto thefts are on the rise again. This represents a reversal of the trend toward lower motor vehicle thefts over a period of years, which was in part driven by security innovations from automobile manufacturers. Motor vehicle thefts in the U. S. have spiked sharply, possibly indicating that the latest security systems have fallen prey to thieves as they refine their techniques.
In 2016, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were an estimated 765,484 auto thefts across the US—that’s over an 8 percent increase in just one year. Increases were seen in almost all regions, but they were especially sharp in the Southeast, South Central, Mountain and Pacific Northwest states.
Working to Reduce Auto Theft
For over 30 years, LoJack has worked with law enforcement to help combat auto theft. Together, we have helped recover over 200,000 vehicles totaling well over $1 Billion in the U.S. alone. We are going to be at the annual International Chiefs of Police Conference (booth #1326) talking with law enforcement agencies from around the country. This year, one of our employees, JD Hough, was installed as the President of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI). The organization is tasked with helping to reduce the impact of auto theft globally.
Sharing Promotes Learning
We believe that law enforcement can work with communities and citizens to help reduce vehicle theft by educating them about how to protect their cars and the valuables inside them. The familiar recommendations and messages apply here: lock cars, hide valuables, and invest in theft prevention and stolen vehicle tracking systems, such as LoJack. In addition, law enforcement should communicate with departments in other areas to learn about new trends as well as the latest techniques thieves are using to steal vehicles.
The best weapons against a rising tide of auto theft are vigilance and the sharing of information across departments and agencies via organizations such IAATI. One of the main goals of IAATI is cooperation among all parties: vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement, government, and insurers. By communicating transparently about evolving theft trends and techniques, we can all help stem the growth of auto theft and stamp out related crimes.