The NICB analysis reported that close to 450,000 cars and trucks were stolen countrywide in 1998 in metropolitan areas with ports or close to international borders. Each year more than 200,000 vehicles are exported illegally from the United States. Many of these were stolen in port and border communities, according to NICB.
“More and more vehicles are being targeted for export by thieves who sneak them out through ports and across borders,” said Robert Bryant, president and chief executive officer of NICB. “People who live in these areas should take special care to protect their cars and trucks from thieves.”
The Los Angeles area was by far the prime target with more than 65,000 thefts. The top ten areas with port facilities or near international borders that recorded the greatest number of vehicle thefts were: ·
Los Angeles (65,243 vehicles stolen) ·
New York (46,709) ·
Philadelphia (30,355) ·
Phoenix (29,868) ·
Houston (28,263) ·
Miami (20,977) ·
Riverside/San Bernardino (19,821) ·
San Diego (18,685) ·
Seattle (18,304) ·
“Law enforcement agencies have helped bring auto theft down about 5 percent nationally,” said Bryant. “They’ve done a terrific job.”
But the first line of defense against vehicle theft is the owner, he said. NICB recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles.
There are four layers of protection to consider: common sense — removing the keys and locking the doors; visible and audible devices — steering wheel locks or alarms; immobilizing devices — smart keys or kill switches; and tracking devices.
“The number of layers a vehicle needs depends on the vehicle and the geographic location,” said Bryant. “Budget and personal preference should also determine which anti theft device to choose.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is a nonprofit organization supported by approximately 1,000 insurance and self-insured companies dedicated to fighting insurance-related crime. Footnote: Figures are based on MSAs as reported to the FBI Uniform Crime Report
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