Here’s Where Car Thefts Are Rising Due to the Pandemic

Yet another unfortunate byproduct of COVID-19 was an alleged surge in vehicle thefts last year, fueled by an overabundance of parked cars due to recommendations to work from home and to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Shutdown was selected. According to the annual “Hot Spots” report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), US crooks purged 880,595 cars, trucks and SUVs during 2020, representing a 10.9 percent increase compared to 2019, with a The vehicle illegally drives away from the average. Once every 36 seconds.

For much of the past year, with very few motorists taking to roads and highways and leaving their vehicles unattended for a day, criminals were able to purposefully select their target as if shoppers were looking at racks at Target. This is especially true among city residents, who ask their cars to stand on the streets and, at the end of the week, skip walking to shops and other essential businesses instead of driving.

Suburban people and those who remained mobile during the pandemic were not spared, however, especially the disturbingly high number of vehicle owners who reported missing their rides simply because their owners left the key in the ignition or Was or was sitting in the key fob without the key-access. A bin or cup holder while parked.

“Auto theft saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement restructuring, reduced social and schooling programs, and still, in many cases, owner complacency,” says David Glave, president and is the CEO of NICB

Auto thefts jumped the most in Colorado last year, with 29,162 thefts reported in 2020, up from 21,299 recorded in 2019 – representing an increase of 37. California leads all US states in total thefts totaling 187,094 during 2020, with Bakersfield, CA topping all urban areas with a theft rate of 905.41 vehicles stolen per 100,000 residents. We are listing the states and localities with the most car thefts in the lists below.

While one might think that flashy new cars may be the models most targeted by criminals, for the most part the opposite is the case. NICB notes that old vehicles, especially those originally sold in large numbers, are the most preferred by thieves. These include well-worn versions of the Honda Accord and Civic, Toyota Camry and Corolla, and Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, and Dodge/Ram full-size pickup trucks. They are often picked up or taken to so-called chop shops where key components are cut and sold to unscrupulous auto parts dealers and/or unsuspecting consumers via the Internet.

In that time, law enforcement agencies in large metropolitan areas have reported an increase in thefts of high-performance cars like the Dodge Challenger and Charger, especially those that pack more than 700 horsepower in the Hellcat and redi supercharged V8 versions. Earlier this year, parent company Stelantis released flash-downloadable security upgrades for models that affect legibility when a break-in is detected in the system.

Often, key components can be cut right where a vehicle is parked, and enough to go unnoticed even in broad daylight. The most common of these easy-money thefts is the catalytic converter, a particularly valuable part of a car or truck’s emissions control system that uses platinum, palladium, and gas to convert an engine’s environmentally hazardous exhaust into a less harmful one. Uses expensive precious metals like rhodium. Gas As of December 2020, rhodium was priced at $14,500 an ounce, palladium was priced at $2,336 an ounce and platinum was priced at $1,061 an ounce. Typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 for a “recycled” catalytic converter.

According to NICB’s Operations, Intelligence and Analytics study of reported thefts, there were an average of 108 catalyst reported converter thefts per month in 2018, 282 average monthly reported thefts in 2019, and an average of 1,203 thefts per month in 2020. Reported. The top five states catalytic converter theft last year were California, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina and Illinois.

“It only takes a few minutes to remove a catalytic converter using some basic, readily available, battery-powered tools from a local hardware store,” Glawe said. “And for the vehicle owner, it is costly due to loss of work, finding and paying for alternative transportation, and then paying anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to have their vehicle fixed.”

It is always prudent to install an anti-theft device to add a layer of protection to vehicles, especially one that protects the catalytic converter. In addition, the usual precautions apply, namely to park in your garage at home and in a well-lit and well-populated place in public, and to always lock the car and take the keys with you. , no matter how short, the period it takes to pay for gas or drive to the post office.

NICB’s list of the top 10 metropolitan “hot spots” for vehicle theft relative to population size during 2020, with the number of stolen vehicles per 100,000 residents noted in parentheses:

  1. Bakersfield, CA (905.41)
  2. Yuba City, CA (724.46)
  3. Denver, CO (705.80)
  4. Odessa, TX (624.28)
  5. San Francisco, CA (655.20)
  6. Albuquerque, NM (613.75)
  7. Pueblo, CO (602.39)
  8. Billings, MT (564.79)
  9. St. Joseph, MO (564.64)
  10. Tulsa, OK (551.76)

And here are the states with the most car thefts per 100,000 residents last year, according to the NICB:

  1. Washington, DC (562.98)
  2. Colorado (502.12)
  3. California (475.24)
  4. Missouri (453.63)
  5. New Mexico (426.79)
  6. Oregon (385.08)
  7. Oklahoma (371.28)
  8. Washington (386,46)
  9. Nevada (365.84)
  10. Kansas (325.28)

You can read the full NICB report here.

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