Data from NICB Shows a 9.2 percent increase in auto thefts versus 2019 data
In what might seem a counterintuitive trend as a result of the pandemic which has closed many parts of the country for the past year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau says the most recent data from 2020 suggests a dramatic leap in auto theft over the past year.
“Preliminary reports indicate a sharp increase in automobile thefts for 2020,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “All indications are 2020 will be the largest theft year in the past decade by a significant margin.”
According to the preliminary study, there were approximately 873,080 auto thefts throughout the U.S. in 2020. This amounts to 73,000 more vehicles being stolen in 2020 than in 2019, representing a 9.2% increase overall.
Every month during 2020 saw an increase in thefts
One of the more surprising statistics is that there was no month during the past year, which did not see an increase in thefts. In fact, half the year, from June through December, saw a double digit gain for each month.
“Based on the preliminary nature of the data, the cause of this increase will require a thorough intelligence assessment,” said Glawe. “Considerations such as the pandemic, economic downturn, loss of juvenile outreach programs and public safety budgetary and resource limitations are likely contributing factors. Thieves exploit opportunities and may look for vehicles parked in the same location or citizens not taking proper measures to secure their vehicles.”
Sharing information early
The NICB announced that it was releasing the 2020 data earlier than it normally does, “[g]iven the unique circumstances of 2020. As a result, it says its annual Hot Spots report, due later in 2021, will include much of the same information.
For those looking to combat this rise, the NICB recommends renewed vigilance to guard against complacency. It also suggest the vehicle owners follow its ‘four layers of protection’ outlined below:
- Common sense. Vehicle owners should always remove keys from the ignition, lock doors and windows, and park in well-lit areas.
- Warning devices. These include visible and audible alarms. Aftermarket alarms are available for all makes and models of cars. Visual devices include column collars, steering wheel locks, and brake locks.
- Immobilizing devices. The third layer of protection prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are smart keys; fuse cut-offs; kill switches; starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers; and wireless ignition authentication.
- Tracking devices. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
Links to other reports
The following are links to a report Agency Checklists published in 2020 on the rate of theft, including motor vehicle, theft in Massachusetts. The other report outlines the top Private Passenger Auto Insurers in the Commonwealth.
- Massachusetts Cities With The Highest Number Of Burglary, Motor Vehicle And Larceny Thefts Reported In 2019
- 2020 MA Market Share Report | Auto Insurers
- NAIC 2020 Market Share Report: The Top 25 Private Passenger Auto Insurers (U.S.)