Car Thefts Reach Highest Levels in 14 Years

The number of car thefts in the United States surpassed one million in 2022 for the first time in 14 years, according to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The report estimated 1,001,967 thefts, representing a 7% increase over 2021 and the most car thefts since 2008, when 1.05 million cars were stolen.

David J. Glawe, President and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, stated, “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 as they are just property crimes, like shoplifting.” Glawe also suggested that investing in local law enforcement, providing resources for prosecution and community policing programs, and implementing early intervention programs can help reduce the number of car thefts.

Illinois and Washington are among the states that have seen the highest increases, with a rise of 35% and 31%, respectively. Social media videos demonstrating how easy it is to start certain models without an immobilizer using a USB cable’s tip drove many of the Hyundai and Kia thefts, with most committed by juveniles taking joyrides.

The automakers have responded to the issue by providing steering wheel locks and developing software solutions for the affected vehicles, which will be available to customers in the coming months. Additionally, the theft of catalytic converters, which contain valuable materials, increased by 1,215% between 2019 and 2022, according to the NICB.

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