A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keven Moore: Vehicle theft is on the the rise; how to prevent your vehicle from being stolen

Out of the 285 million registered vehicles in the US, vehicle thefts nationwide surpassed 1 million in 2022. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released the results of a new data analysis, finding that an estimated 1,001,967 vehicle thefts occurred across the country last year.

This was a 7% increase over 2021 numbers and the first time thefts reached that total since 2008, according to a new analysis from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Keven Moore works in risk management services. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He is also an expert witness. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at kmoore@higusa.com

According to David Glawe, president and chief executive of NICB, “We are seeing vehicle theft numbers that we haven’t seen in nearly 15 years, and there is very little deterrent to stop criminals from committing these acts We must reinvest in local law enforcement, provide the necessary resources for prosecution and community policing programs and implement early intervention programs given the high incidence of juvenile offenders involved in vehicle thefts.”

Law enforcement agencies and communities reported over 250,000 thefts in the fourth quarter of 2022. California and Texas led the nation last year with the most reported stolen vehicles at roughly 202,700 and 105,000, respectively. Among the 10 states with the most vehicle thefts, Illinois (sixth-highest overall) had the most significant year-over-year increase of 35%. Following that was Washington (third-highest overall), with an increase of 31% from 2021.

The remaining states in the top 10 were Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Missouri, New York and Georgia. NICB used data from the National Crime Information Center to conduct its analysis.

According to an article in Silver.com the total cost in vehicle theft in the US totaled $8.9B and Housegrail.com provided a few other interesting additional statistics regarding vehicle theft:

• The average cost of a theft cost $9,166
• Carjacking have skyrocketed in the last year with Philadelphia alone reported an 80% increase
• The Tesla’s Model S is the least likely to be stolen.
• Nearly 40% of motor vehicle thefts occurred at a residence.
• About 22% of motor vehicle thefts occurred in a parking garage or lot.
• Thefts most often occur on New Years Day with 2,320 reported in 2019.

Thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles spiked in recent years. In September, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) called Hyundai and Kia vehicles “easy targets” since many 2015 to 2019 model-year vehicles lack electronic immobilizers.

Electronic immobilizers prevent thieves from simply breaking into a vehicle and bypassing the ignition. Immobilizers were standard on 96% of other manufacturers’ vehicles in 2015 but standard on only 26% of Hyundai and Kia models, according to IIHS.

As a result some insurers, including Progressive and State Farm, started refusing to write policies for Hyundai and Kia models in certain cities, which has started to alarm state governments. For instance Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) issued a bulletin reminding insurers the state requires they offer auto insurance to all residents regardless of make or model — including Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

As insurance companies and state governments work through this this growing concern, Kia and Hyundai have software fixes and other anti-theft devices available to drivers. If you drive either of these models, vehicle owners should contact their local dealer for more information. And, when shopping for insurance, be sure to let the insurer know if their vehicle has had the software upgrade.

The fact is vehicles are one of the most popular targets for criminals because they are relatively easy to steal. Don’t be the next victim of vehicle theft. Consider the following guidance to reduce the risk of getting your vehicle stolen.

• If you have a home with a garage, use it , this is the single most effective way to prevent your vehicle from being stone.
• Never leave your vehicle unattended while it’s running.
• Never leave your keys in the vehicle or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
• Always roll up your windows and lock the vehicle, even if it is in front of your home.
• Always park in a high-traffic, well-lit area, if possible.
• Consider anti-theft devices—such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
• If you park in a fee garage, take the pay ticket with you.
• Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into each piece of glass on the vehicle as a deterrent.
• Consider purchasing a vehicle alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.
• If you use valet parking, leave just the ignition key with the attendant.
• Copy your license plate and VIN numbers on a card and keep them on you with your driver’s license.

However If you happen to become a victim of vehicle theft, follow these steps:

• Contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report. You will need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following information:
o License plate number;
o Make, model, and color of your vehicle; and
o Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and any identifying characteristics.

• Then be sure to contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of your vehicle being stolen.

Then if you happen to locate your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.

Be Safe My Friends.

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