Vehicle Thefts Decline

MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT

The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. A motor vehicle is stolen on average every 46 seconds in the United States.

Vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 23 years since they peaked at 1,661,738 in 1991, falling 58 percent to 699,594 in 2013, according to a 2014 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). As a result, 56 percent of Americans rarely or never worry that their car will be stolen, according to a 2014 Gallop poll. The NICB credits law enforcement efforts, along with the creation of specific antitheft programs, technology and insurance company-supported organizations such as the NICB for contributing to the theft reduction.

Despite the reduction in vehicle thefts over the past two decades, industry observers caution that thieves constantly devise new and sophisticated means of stealing autos. Tactics include acquiring smart keys, which eliminated hot-wiring to steal cars; switching vehicle identification numbers; and using stolen identities to secure loans for expensive vehicles. Courtesy of iii.org

MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT IN THE UNITED STATES, 2005-2014

Year Vehicles stolen Percent change
2005 1,235,859 -0.2%
2006 1,198,245 -3.0
2007 1,100,472 -8.2
2008 959,059 -12.9
2009 795,652 -17.0
2010 739,565 -7.0
2011 716,508 -3.1
2012 723,186 0.9
2013 700,288 -3.2
2014 689,527 -1.5

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports.

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  • Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 216.2  per 100,000 people in 2014, down 2.3 percent from 2013 and down 48.1 percent from