Car Theft Falls 7.2 Percent in 2010 to Lowest Rate Since 1967

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that U.S. automobile theft in 2010 fell 7.2 percent year-over-year, reaching the lowest rate since 1967. However, theft rates rose in the five of the country’s “hot spots” for stolen cars.

The NCIB says the five metropolitan areas with the highest rates of vehicle theft in 2010 were Fresno, California; Modesto, California; Bakersfield-Delano, California; Spokane, Washington; and Vallejo-Fairfield, California. Each of those five “hot spots” reported higher car theft rates in 2010 than in 2009.

Conversely, the rate of vehicle theft fell in New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Miami. The five metro areas with the lowest rates of automotive theft were State College, Pennsylvania; Glen Falls, New York; Elmira, New York; Holland-Grand Haven, Michigan; and Harrisonburg, VA.

The NICB attributes much of the reduction to an increase in law-enforcement efforts to shut down car theft rings, as well as improved vehicle security measures like immobilizers and electronic tracking systems.

“Even the baseline vehicle today, it’s harder to steal than in 2000,” NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi told Bloomberg.

The results mean 2010 is the seventh consecutive year in which automotive thefts have declined. In 2009, the NICB reported that vehicle theft rates had dropped 17.9 percent year-over-year, reaching the lowest level in the prior 20 years.

Sources: NICB, Bloomberg

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