Law enforcement agencies and communities across the U.S. continue to be plagued by record and near-record levels of vehicular crime as monthly theft totals nationwide consistently exceeded 75,000 in 2022.
According to new analysis conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the insurance industry’s association dedicated to predicting, preventing and prosecuting insurance crime, more than 1 million vehicles were stolen last year, marking a 7% increase over 2021.
Vehicle theft data, provided by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and analyzed by NICB, indicates more than 250,000 thefts were reported in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone.
California and Texas led the nation with the most reported stolen vehicles in 2022, and Illinois had the largest increase of any top 10 state with thefts increasing by an estimated 35% between 2021 and 2022. Similarly, vehicle thefts increased by 31% in Washington state over the same period.
“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,” said David J. Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB. “We must reinvest in local law enforcement, provide the necessary resources for prosecution and community policing programs, and implement early intervention programs given the high incidence of juvenile offenders involved in vehicle thefts."
According to NICB analysis, the U.S. is seeing the highest vehicle theft numbers since 2008, when 1.05 million vehicles were reported stolen.
“NICB, along with our partners in law enforcement, are proactively working to prevent and deter vehicle theft, but vehicle owners should stay vigilant,” said Glawe. “Remember, practicing good personal security hygiene is an easy and effective first step all of us can take to protect ourselves and our vehicles. Don’t leave your car running and unattended. Always take your keys with you and most importantly, make sure your auto policy is up to date. It is that simple.”
NICB Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Vehicle Theft
1. Always practice good security hygiene.
2. Make sure your auto policy is up to date.
3. Roll up your windows, lock your doors, and take the keys or fob.
4. Park in well-lit areas and, when possible, areas staffed by security
5. Park personal vehicles in a garage. If not possible, and vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, it may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
Should your vehicle be stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately. Reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB.