CANTON, Mass., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While the FBI's newly released 2011 Uniform Crime Report* indicated that vehicle theft in the U.S. decreased again for the year, a close look at the numbers reveals several troubling trends including the lowest national recovery rate of stolen vehicles since 1981 and significant vehicle theft increases in several states and MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas).
According to vehicle theft protection experts at LoJack Corporation (NASDAQ: LOJN), one of the biggest continuing trends is that the percentage of vehicles stolen and recovered has dropped to a 30-year low – this time by a full four percentage points -- to only 52 percent. With this drop, nearly half of the vehicles stolen in 2011 were never returned to their owners – amounting to 371,800 vehicles. The four percentage point drop represents the largest year-over-year decline since 2000.
Other noteworthy vehicle theft facts revealed in the report include:
- A full 22 states had year-over-year increases in vehicle theft in 2011 vs. only 12 states in 2010; that's an 83% increase in the total number of states which experienced an increase in vehicle theft
- Nearly 40% of MSAs had year-over-year increases in vehicle theft in 2011 vs. 23% in 2010; that's a 74% increase in the number of MSAs with rising vehicle theft rates
- Many MSAs with rising vehicle theft rates are home to international shipping ports (e.g. San Francisco, CA; Savannah, GA and Bridgeport, CT), where stolen cars can be hidden in steel containers and shipped overseas
- Among the MSAs with rising vehicle theft rates, many are within 250 miles of San Francisco's international port, including Chico, Merced, Napa, Redding, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Yuba City.
- One-third of all vehicle thefts in the U.S. occurred in the four states bordering Mexico ( California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas)
- Be careful where you park your car and to whom you entrust your vehicle
- Never leave a key or key fob in the vehicle
- Close all windows; lock all doors
- Park in a well-lit area to deter thieves from doing their dirty work
- When at home, park in the garage
- When you use valet services, make sure they are reputable (many thieves pose as valets and simply drive off with your car)
- Hide all valuables, as they entice thieves to take your car – and what's inside
- Never program your home address as "home" in your GPS navigation system – it's an easy way for a thief to find your house, gain access to it and burglarize it
- While thieves can get around most of these, they may be less inclined to steal your vehicle if it has visible or audible warning devices like a wheel lock or alarm system. Immobilizers (kill switches and fuel cut-off devices) offer another means of protection, even though thieves often disable them.
- Since thieves can disarm theft prevention devices, recovery systems can provide the peace of mind that you'll get your car back in the event it is stolen. Effective systems like the LoJack System are directly integrated with and used by police, use Radio Frequency technology – which has proven to be optimal for stolen vehicle recovery as it can track vehicles hidden in steal shipping containers, concrete garages or dense foliage – and are covert because it is nearly impossible to find and disengage the system.
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