Top-40 Auto Theft Metros 2018

There are two factors in addition to having a job most people pursue regarding where they live: affordability and quality of life.   Impacting both of those are crime.  Crime not only nudges our personal safety factor, but it costs us.  An estimated three-quarters of a million vehicles were stolen in 2018, or 229 thefts per 100,000 people.   Though this was down 3.1 percent versus 2017, it remained 9.0 percent greater than 2014.

Autos are the second largest expenditure after the home for the typical U.S. household.   Loss of an auto is more than just inconvenience, but entails at array of expenses including but not limited to temporary replacement, permanent replacement, deductibles and increased insurance premiums.  As usual, I invoke the TINSTAANREM axiom — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market.   Nor is there such a thing as typical theft rate of vehicles across the country or an equal cost of insurance.

There were 40 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with an auto theft rate of more than 400 per 100,000 residents in 2018.  The following table shows the vehicle theft rate per 100,000 residents, number of vehicles stolen and the property crime rate per 100,000 residents in 2018.  Vehicle theft data are originated by the FBI and distributed via The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) while the property crime rate per 100,000 residents is sourced from the FBI.  California dominates the list garnering 5 of the top-10 and 15 of the top 40 car-theft metros.

Property crime rates in the top-40 auto theft metros averaged 6.4 times the auto theft rate.  The peak multiple was 9.7 in Memphis.

To read the original article from USA Today click

To see the data for all states and MSAs from the National Insurance Crime Bureau click then select By State.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) published a list of tips to help reduce vehicle theft.  These are shown below and were taken directly from the NICB Website.


NICB recommends that drivers follow our four “layers of protection” to guard against vehicle theft:

Common Sense — the common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:

  • Remove your keys from the ignition
  • Lock your doors /close your windows              
  • Park in a well-lit area

 Warning Device — the second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering column collars
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
  • Brake locks
  • Wheel locks
  • Theft deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle
  • VIN etching
  • Micro dot marking

 Immobilizing Device — the third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:

  • Smart keys
  • Fuse cut-offs
  • Kill switches
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
  • Wireless ignition authentication

Tracking Device — the final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which 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.

 Source: NICB



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