October 28, 2009

National Vehicle Theft Rate Lowest in 20 Years

According the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), vehicle theft has dropped to the lowest rates in the past 20 years. This is a significant fact because the amount of cars, trucks, and SUVs on national highways has more than doubled. Here are some reasons why there are currently less instances of auto theft.

The FBI reports that 956,846 vehicle owners experienced theft of their automobiles in 2008. Breaking it down, that equals 315 stolen vehicles for every 100,000 on United State’s roads. In 1991, 1.66 million cars were stolen — 659 for every 100,000 vehicles. These numbers mean that instances of vehicle theft have been practically cut in half.

Why is this? Recent auto insurance claims reflect that drivers reporting theft tend to have older vehicles with out-of-date security features. Manufacturers have gotten smarter and more technologically advanced when it comes to the types of auto theft precautions they are placing in current car models. Newer vehicles parked on streets, in dark garages or in the driveway of a residence are harder to steal due to being equipped with state-of the art anti-theft devices. Such devices include smart car alarms, equipment that immobilizes parts of the engine if being tampered with and tracking devices that allow authorities to track vehicles if they are stolen. Specific examples include installed global positioning systems and silent alarms that aid authorities not only in tracking stolen vehicles, but in catching the thieves as well. In addition, drivers are taking action to keep their vehicles ahead of the game. Prompted by potential auto insurance rebates, many drivers are equipping older models that don’t come standard with their own anti-theft devices with newer systems. Though there is no way to completely prevent vehicle theft, it seems people are doing everything they can to make sure they are victims of this crime.

Another simple way of protecting yourself against the effects of auto theft is making sure your auto insurance coverage protects you in the event that your car is stolen. Having the proper coverage can help you repair your vehicle if recovered from a theft of provide the funds for a replacement vehicle while you search for a new one.

With the drop in the amount of car theft in the past 20 years, it’s obvious anti-theft devices have come a long way. But don’t depend primarily on your alarm system to keep your car safe. Also have some common sense. Be aware of the surroundings in which you park your car and avoid leaving valuable items, like GPS systems or other electronics, in clear view. Doing these things will help you avoid becoming the victim of vehicle theft.